After 20 years, and despite financial difficulties and a lack of related expertise, Niu Yuqin has successfully completed the forestation of 73 square kilometers of land. In 1993 she was awarded the Dr. Leo Prize by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, and later she was elected delegate to the 9th and 10th National People’s Congress, the highest representative legislative body of the Chinese Government.
Walking in the dense forest, listening to the sounds of trees, Niu Yuqin hears them as greetings and "thank-you's." She planted these trees with her own hands. They are her achievement in life! With years of hard work, Yuqin turned 110,000 mu (73 square kilometers) of desert into a seemingly endless forest. Every Sunday, she would come with her grandchildren to work in the woods. They would do some reading when they had rests. She feels proud and contented that her work of forestation can be carried on from generation to generation, turning all the deserts into oases. It was especially difficult when Niu Yuqin and her husband first started to contract idle land for forestation and anti-desertification projects. There was no one to help; they had to rely solely on themselves to start everything up. At that time, life was especially harsh and difficult as her husband was afflicted with a bone tumor. They were poor and there was no way to get credit for extra expenses. Yuqin had to cope with enormous psychological pressure every day. But she survives. “My family name is Niu (ox). I was born in the Year of the Ox, surely I would be obstinate like an ox,” she says. And it is this highly determined character that has taken her through these years, good and bad. She was elected delegate to the 9th and 10th National People’s Congress, the highest representative legislative body of the Chinese Government. She is a representative of her home county, city, and province. She has gained respect from her fellow villagers. More importantly, she has succeeded in changing people’s perspectives. Many people now take forestation seriously, and following in Yuqin's steps. Aside from forestation, Yuqin also furnished the infrastructure of the village, such as school buildings and highways maintenance, contributing much to the development of culture and economy of the village.