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Our Mission

Our Mission

We believe that the improvement of agricultural trade between the U.S. and Cuba is the foundation for building successful and enduring relations between both countries.
An increased exchange of ideas, knowledge, capital and credit will benefit both countries. We strive to turn Cuba from an enemy to an ally within our lifetime by building trade relations with an honest appraisal of the past, and a fresh look to the future.

Our Goals

Collaborative Action for Improved Agricultural Trade Relations

We will achieve our purpose by advancing a constructive dialogue in the United States on U.S.-Cuba relations. We will actively engage to end the long-standing embargo. We will work with key stakeholders to build momentum that drives historical change. We will take public platforms and explain the moral imperative of liberalizing trade between the two countries.

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Board Members

2016-03-22 10.14.30

Chair | Devry Boughner Vorwerk

Co-Chair | Paul D. Johnson

Committee Chairs

Legislative Committee

Dave Salmonsen

Co-Chair: David Salmonsen – American Farm Bureau

Mosely, Ben

Co-Chair: Ben Mosely – USA Rice Federation

State Support Committee

Mark Albertson

Co-Chair: Mark Albertson – Illinois Soybean Growers

Co-Chair: Tamara Nelsen – Illinois Farm Bureau

Doug Keesling

Co-Chair: Doug Keesling – Kansas Wheat

Communications Committee

 Co-Chair: Jessie Lowry – CNFA

End The Embargo

For us Citizen
* Benefits our Regional Security & Global Economy
* Travel, Research, Cultural, and Business Relations are favorable
* We cannot help Cubans gain rights, by restricting them here
* Shared Goals: Natural Disaster Preparedness, Crop Disease Management and Food Security
* An Healthy Cuban economy is good for the U.S. economy
* US Strength and Cuban Sovereignty a stronger combination
For Cuba Citizen
* Embargo is an obstacle to Cuban economic and political development
* Engagement, reconciliation are best started today rather than left for tomorrow
* Regional Energy, Food, Trade and Travel Security is essential
* Developing economy bouys 11 Million Cuban lives
* Assist Agricultural Cooperatives to improve lives
* FDI and supporting local production will help grow Cuban economy

LATEST NEWS

USACC Memorandum of Understanding to Drive Further Dialogue
on U.S.-Cuban Agricultural Cooperation

USACC, GEA, Sign Historic MOU during Second Learning Journey to Cuba

HAVANA – The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) announced today that it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Grupo Empresarial Agricola (GEA) to promote increased cooperation and dialogue between the U.S. and Cuban agricultural sectors.

USACC—a coalition of America’s leading agricultural organizations and companies dedicated to normalizing U.S.-Cuban trade relations—signed the MOU during the organization’s second “Learning Journey” to the island nation. GEA was designated as the appropriate counterpart to USACC by Ministerio del Comercio Exterior y la Inversión Extranjera (MINCEX) and the Ministry of Agriculture. During the Journey, USACC members participated in four-day series of workshops and break-out sessions between USACC/U.S. coalition members and their Cuban counterparts, including key officials of the Cuban ministries of agriculture, industry and commercial affairs.

“We believe this memorandum serves as a foundation for the mutual advancement of the agrarian economies of both our countries,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk. “The MOU is designed to be inclusive, encouraging cooperation and dialogue that will benefit everyone along the agricultural continuum—from investors to farmers in the field.”

USACC said the MOU aims to cooperate in the following areas of agriculture development –

  • Agriculture financing and credit
  • Two-way trade
  • Production
  • Processing
  • Supply chain (logistics and distribution)
  • Investment
  • Sustainability
  • Research and Development
  • Farmer training

“This document distills many of the aims of our engagement with Cuba,” said USACC Co-Chair Paul Johnson. “By pursuing the discussions outlined in the MOU, we and our Cuban counterparts will continue to work toward creating cooperative initiatives that will generate a full range of benefits, foremost of which is a reliable, safe and affordable food supply for U.S. and Cuban citizens.”

“At its core, this memorandum is a mutual commitment to learning,” said former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi, A. Mike Espy, who is once again traveling with the coalition to Cuba.

Espy also attended last year’s Learning Journey with former Agriculture Secretary John R. Block. Espy and Block currently also serve as directors of Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international non-profit organization.

“This MOU builds on the experiences culled from last year’s Learning Journey,” Espy said. “And what we discovered during that trip was an overwhelming desire—on the part of both U.S. and Cuban agricultural organizations and enterprises—for normalization of commercial ties in food and agriculture. We hope this memorandum helps to drive us toward that goal—and that policymakers in both countries—particularly those in Congress—join us in this effort.”

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LATEST NEWS

USACC Embarks on Second Learning Journey to Cuba

USACC Embarks on Second Learning Journey to Cuba

Representatives of U.S. Agriculture and Cuban Peers to Discuss a Full Range of Issues

WASHINGTON DC – Representatives of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) on May 23, 2016 began their second Learning Journey to the island nation to meet with key officials there and continue the group’s work to reestablish agricultural relations with Cuba.

Members of USACC—a coalition of America’s leading agricultural organizations and companies dedicated to normalizing trade relations between the two countries—will embark on an ambitious four-day series of workshops and break-out sessions between USACC/U.S. coalition members and their Cuban counterparts, including key officials of the Cuban ministries of agriculture, industry and commercial affairs.

“Since our first Learning Journey to Cuba a year ago, USACC has been encouraged by a series of significant actions to clear away outdated obstacles to our nations’ common interests,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk. “We see this week as an opportunity to further enrich our understanding of Cuba’s needs, build even more new relationships, and add momentum to our effort to convince policymakers to complete the job of opening full trade relations with Cuba.”

In addition to meeting with top Cuban officials, USACC members also will visit the Port of Mariel, as well as the Agrarian University of Havana to get a closer look at agricultural education in the country, and will also visit a farm cooperative to observe Cuban farming firsthand. One day will be dedicated to a series of workshops where USACC members and Cuban counterparts can discuss strategies to advance mutual agricultural relationship. Cuban workshop participants will include: Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food Nourishment, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commercial Affairs, the Small Farmers Association, Commercial Export Company, BioCubaFarma as well as two of the largest retail chains on the island.

According to USACC Co-Chair Paul Johnson, each element of the trip is intended to bring USACC members and their Cuban counterparts closer to mutual understanding.

“We need to better understand Cuban farmer needs in order to build a meaningful agricultural relationship,” Johnson said. “On this trip, we will engage in discussions on the full range of issues that impact both production in Cuba and the means for U.S. agriculture to be more competitive with Cuba’s existing trade partners—from trade, production and investment to sustainability, the supply chain, farmer training, and research and development.”

“This is a two-way proposition,” agreed former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi, A. Mike Espy who is once again traveling with the coalition to Cuba.

He also attended last year’s Learning Journey with former Agriculture Secretary John R. Block. Mike Espy and John Block currently also serve as directors of Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international non-profit organization.

“On one hand, we are working to convince U.S. policymakers to remove financing and trade restrictions that have limited U.S. agriculture’s ability to competitively serve the Cuban market,” Espy said. “On the other, we are working to help Cuban famers increase their own production and yields. There is no downside to these goals. And we hope Congress acts soon to help us realize it.”

“During this trip, we look forward to working closely with our Cuban counterparts in research and information efforts, not only to help U.S. producers better understand and serve the Cuban market, but also to help the Cuban people expand and improve their own agriculture sector,” concluded Mark Albertson, USACC co-chair, State Support committee, representing the Illinois Soybean Growers.

Legislative Sheet

The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba has issued its support for several bills over the last year that advance commercial relations between the United States and Cuba (listed by Chamber and in order by date of issuance).

U.S. Senate

  • 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 introduced on January 29, 2015
    • Sponsor: Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Original Co-sponsors: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. John Boozman (R-AK), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • 491 Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015 introduced on February 12, 2015 would allow U.S. businesses in the private sector to trade with Cuba without restrictions
    • Sponsor: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Original Co-sponsors: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
  • 1049 Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2015, introduced on April 22, 2015 would lift the ban on private banks and companies offering credit for agricultural exports to Cuba, and help level the playing field for exporters.
    • Sponsor: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); Original Co-sponsor: Sen. John Boozman (R-AK), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ),
  • 1543 The Cuba Trade Act of 2015 introduced on June 11, 2015 would allow U.S. businesses in the private sector to trade with Cuba without restrictions.
    • Sponsor: Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS); Original Co-sponsor: Sen. Angus King (I-ME)

U.S. House

  • R. 3238 – Cuba Trade Act of 2015 introduced on July 28, 2015 would allow U.S. businesses in the private sector to trade with Cuba without restrictions.
    • Sponsor: Rep Tom emmer (R-MN-6); Original Co-sponsor: Rep. Cathy Castor (D-FL-14), Rep. Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA-3), Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC-1), Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI-8), Rep Ralph Lee Abraham (R-LA-5), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI-3), Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC-3)
  • R. 3687 – Cuba Agriculture Exports Act introduced on October 6, 2015 would allow credit to be used for U.S. agricultural export to Cuba and permit U.S. investment in privately owned Cuban agricultural businesses.
    • Sponsor: Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AK-1); Original Co-sponsors: Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX-2), Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11)
  • R. 664 – The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act introduced February 2, 2015 allows all U.S. citizens to travel freely to Cuba.
    • Sponsor: rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC-1); Original Co-sponsors: Rep. James McGovern (D-MA-2), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND-At Large), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY-13),

To learn more about USACC, please visit www.usagcoalition.com

About the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba

The USACC seeks to advance trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba by re-establishing Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports.  The USACC believes that normalizing trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba will provide the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities, drive enhanced growth in both countries and allow U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies to efficiently address Cuban citizen’s food security needs.  Under current sanctions, U.S. food and agriculture companies can legally export to Cuba, but financing and trade restrictions limit their ability to serve the market competitively.  The USACC ultimately seeks to end the embargo and allow for open trade and investment.

Coalition Urges Congress to End Trade Embargo

WASHINGTON, D.CThe U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) today praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to permit U.S. research and marketing entities to exchange information with the Cuban government and agriculture industry.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who made the announcement in Havana as part of President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, said USDA now will allow 22 industry-funded Research and Promotion Programs and 18 Marketing Order organizations to conduct authorized research and information exchange activities in Cuba.

These research and marketing promotion programs—commonly known as “checkoffs”—are entirely funded by U.S. farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses, but administered by USDA.

“This long-overdue action marks the beginning of a new era of U.S. Cuban agricultural cooperation,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk. “After more than 50 years, U.S. agricultural producers—through their own industry-funded organizations and programs—finally will be able to closely engage with their Cuban counterparts in research and information efforts, not only to help U.S. producers better understand and serve the Cuban market, but also to help the Cuban people expand and improve their own agriculture sector.”

Potential activities cited by USDA include working with the Cuban government and industry officials to provide them with nutritional research and guidance; conducting consumer tracking studies within Cuba to measure attitudes on specific commodities and to identify specific groups of consumers; and providing U.S.-based market, consumer, nutrition and environmental research findings to Cuban government and Industry officials.

“Opening the door to mutual information exchange is a critical first step toward reestablishing the tie between our agricultural sectors,” said USACC vice chair Paul Johnson. “But the second step must move us toward recapturing the market share that U.S. producers and exporters have lost—and continue to lose—to the European Union, Brazil, Argentina and others.”

“While USDA’s move is an encouraging beginning, it now is imperative for Congress to make the next logical move—and change outdated, Cuba-specific federal policies that restrict financing, reduce the competitiveness of our farmers, ranchers and agricultural concerns, and prevent U.S. businesses from securing opportunities only 90 miles from our shores.”

Members of the coalition traveled to Cuba this week and will take another learning Journey to Cuba in May 2016 whereby the coalition seeks to sign an industry memorandum of understanding in areas such as two-way trade, production, sustainability, investment, supply chain, and research and development.  USACC’s goal is to work with Cuban industry counterparts to develop concrete steps that improve collaborative efforts on food security for both countries.

Agricultural Coalition Applauds U.S.-Cuba Progress

USACC Urges Congress to Take the Next Step and End Trade Embargo at one-year anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C – A coalition of America’s leading agricultural organizations and companies dedicated to normalizing trade relations between the United States and Cuba celebrated its one-year anniversary by urging policymakers to end the embargo in 2016.

The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), which seeks to enhance two-way trade between the U.S. and Cuba, pointed to regulatory changes and Congressional activity on advancement of bills over the past year as clear evidence that the wheels of change are turning.

“USACC began its first year of existence on the common realization by U.S. agricultural interests—including producers, growers, companies, NGOs and state organizations—that the ongoing embargo with Cuba has far outlasted its purpose, and now only serves as an obstacle to the common interests of the two countries,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk. “Now only a year on we have seen a series of significant actions by the Administration to achieve that objective. But there is more to be done, and all roads lead to Congress.”

Over the past year, the USACC has been working with the Administration and Congress to remove financing and trade restrictions that have limited the ability of the U.S. agriculture industry to competitively serve the Cuban market. The sanctions have caused the United States to surrender market share to competitors such as Canada, Brazil and Argentina.

The latest development last month—the White House’s announcement on January 26, 2016, that it will amend regulations to ease financing restrictions for certain types of exports and expand on earlier changes easing travel restrictions—comes in addition to a series of historic actions taken by the Administration over the past year, including the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana in July, and a trade mission to Cuba in November 2015 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“We applaud the Administration’s efforts over the past year to normalize trade relations with Cuba,” said USACC Vice Chair Paul Johnson.  “These long overdue policy changes lay the groundwork for opening a logical market of 11 million consumers.  However, while we advance trade opportunities by allowing some products to be sold on credit, we should not exclude agriculture. Building a healthy agriculture policy with Cuba benefits not only U.S. agriculture, but the lives of every Cuban. We believe Congress understands this and we look forward to working with them on placing agriculture on an equal footing.”

“More work remains to be done to lift restrictions,” Vorwerk said. “As we celebrate the successes of the coalition’s first year, USACC will continue to work to create an environment where U.S. agricultural interests can enter strong, bilateral relationships with Cuban partners, to the mutual benefit of U.S farmers, ranchers, agriculture businesses, and the people of Cuba.

Tomorrow, February 11, 2016, the coalition will host an advocacy day on Capitol Hill to call for the reestablishment of Cuba as a market for U.S. agricultural goods and services. The coalition members hope to meet with key U.S. Senators and Representatives who have influence over US policy toward Cuba – from members of Congress who are leading on legislation to expand trade with Cuba, to members that may not be aware of the U.S. agriculture community’s perspective and need to hear from their agricultural constituents on this issue.

The Coalition plans to take a second Learning Journey to Cuba in April 2016 whereby it seeks to sign an industry memorandum of understanding in areas such as two-way trade, production, sustainability, investment, supply chain, and research and development.  USACC’s goal is to work with Cuban industry counterparts to develop concrete steps that improve collaborative efforts on food security for both countries.

 

 

USACC Applauds Progress Made Between U.S. and Cuba Relations in the Past Year

Calls On Congress to End the Embargo on U.S. and Cuba

WASHINGTON:  The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a group dedicated to the liberalization of trade between the United States and Cuba, applauded the progress made in the past year since President Obama announced plans for the United States to reestablish diplomatic relations and expand trade and travel with Cuba. December 17 marks one year since the two countries made the historic announcement.

A national coalition of members of the U.S. food and agriculture companies and organizations, USACC works to end the U.S. embargo with Cuba and reestablish open trade and investment between the two countries.

“USACC began its first year of existence on the common realization by U.S. agricultural interests—including producers, growers and agribusiness companies—that the ongoing embargo with Cuba had far outlasted its purpose, and now only served as an obstacle to the common trade interests of the two countries,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk. “Now only a year in, we have seen great advances toward that goal—among them the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana in July,the release of two new sets of regulations expanding trade and travel opportunitiesa trade mission to Cuba last month by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.”

As part of that effort, more than 95 USACC members representing more than a dozen U.S. states traveled to Cuba in March to participate in a four-day “Learning Journey.” Throughout the course of the event, members met with Cuban officials, farmers and agricultural cooperatives to learn about the nation’s initiatives to boost food production—at the same time laying the groundwork for U.S. agricultural interests to enter strong, bilateral relationships with Cuban partners.

Since December 2014, several members of the U.S. House and Senate have introduced bills that would remove unnecessary barriers and advance an end to the embargo, showing much-needed leadership on Capitol Hill.  Theone-year anniversary of the history-making announcement coincides with the creation of a new bi-partisan Cuba working group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Members of that group include Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.).

“With the creation of this congressional working group, the U.S. can begin the work of developing new policies to normalize our trade with Cuba,” USACC Co-Chair Paul D. Johnson said. “Just as we have worked with key stakeholders to build momentum to reestablish trade relations, we will work with Congress to bring those efforts to fruition in a way that benefits both countries’ interests—providing the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities, while enhancing Cuban citizens’ access to affordable food.”

2016 will be an important year as USACC continues to call on Congress to work to end the longstanding embargo.

 

About the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba

The USACC seeks to advance trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba by re-establishing Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports. The USACC believes that normalizing trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba will provide the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities, drive enhanced growth in both countries and allow U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies to efficiently address Cuban citizen’s food security needs. Under current sanctions, U.S. food and agriculture companies can legally export to Cuba, but financing and trade restrictions limit their ability to serve the market competitively. The USACC ultimately seeks to end the embargo and allow for open trade and investment.

USACC Chair Renews Call for End to Embargo on Return from Cuba Mission

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9 March 2015

WASHINGTON – In a media conference following last week’s four-day learning journey to Cuba, Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Chair of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) today reiterated the group’s call for Congress to end the U.S. embargo with Cuba.

”Our agribusiness and commodity group representatives had positive interactions with Cuban government officials, Cuban farmers and agricultural cooperatives on last week’s learning journey, and we believe opportunity exists to boost agriculture in both our nations by forging a stronger relationship,” said Vorwerk. “We continue to call for progress on efforts in Congress to end the embargo with Cuba. This learning journey was a good first step, and as a result, U.S. agricultural interests are well-positioned to facilitate a strong, two-way relationship when the embargo is lifted.”

USACC members across the nation reiterated the need to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba, which is located about 90 miles south of Florida.

Vorwerk said last week’s learning journey demonstrated for U.S. agricultural leaders how a meaningful relationship with the United States could benefit the Cuban people and provide new opportunities to boost Cuba’s agricultural capacity. In the long term, an end to the embargo also holds potential to provide access to a new market for U.S. producers.

During the visit from March 1-4, more than 95 representatives of USACC, representing more than a dozen U.S. states, met with officials of the Cuban government and learned about initiatives being undertaken in Cuba to boost food production.

USACC representatives prepare to join a Cuban Government official for a press conference during the recent USACC learning journey. Pictured L to R: Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, USACC Vice Chair Paul Johnson, USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Former Agriculture Secretary John Block, and Pablo Diaz Galindo, Department of Political and Economic Affairs, Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

USACC representatives prepare to join a Cuban Government official for a press conference during the recent USACC learning journey. Pictured L to R: Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, USACC Vice Chair Paul Johnson, USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Former Agriculture Secretary John Block, and Pablo Diaz Galindo, Department of Political and Economic Affairs, Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Statement on Freedom to Export to Cuba Act

23 February 2015

Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk made the following statement today regarding the introduction of the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers:

“We appreciate Sen. Klobuchar’s leadership to advance this bipartisan bill, modernize U.S. policy toward Cuba and boost opportunities for American agriculture. Ending the embargo will enable our agriculture sector to work in partnership with Cuba and the Cuban people, develop a meaningful trading relationship and create jobs across many sectors of our own economy. We urge quick action on this bill to open this new economic opportunity for U.S. farmers, ranchers and growers as soon as possible.”

The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Lead U.S. Delegation on Food and Agricultural Collaboration with Cuba

WASHINGTON, November 9, 2015 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will lead a delegation of U.S. Government officials traveling to Havana November 11-14, marking the first official U.S. Department of Agriculture visit to Cuba since 1961. Secretary Vilsack will be accompanied by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell of Alabama, Suzan DelBene of Washington and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

“This trip will be an opportunity to support the Administration’s commitment to normalizing relations and empowering the Cuban people through bilateral agricultural engagement,” Vilsack said. “Food and agricultural goods are the dominant U.S. exports to Cuba and agriculture can serve as a bridge to foster cooperation, understanding and the exchange of ideas. Expanding markets for American agriculture has been a priority for this Administration, and relationships like the one we aim to build with Cuba are crucial to continuing the momentum we have seen over the past six years.”

The proposed schedule includes meetings with Cuban government officials in agriculture, foreign affairs, and food purchasing. The delegation also plans to visit port facilities, markets and cooperatives.

To get updates throughout the trip from Secretary Vilsack, follow USDA Press on Twitter @USDAPress.

USACC Chair Renews Call for End to Embargo on Return from Cuba Mission

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9 March 2015

WASHINGTON – In a media conference following last week’s four-day learning journey to Cuba, Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Chair of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) today reiterated the group’s call for Congress to end the U.S. embargo with Cuba.

”Our agribusiness and commodity group representatives had positive interactions with Cuban government officials, Cuban farmers and agricultural cooperatives on last week’s learning journey, and we believe opportunity exists to boost agriculture in both our nations by forging a stronger relationship,” said Vorwerk. “We continue to call for progress on efforts in Congress to end the embargo with Cuba. This learning journey was a good first step, and as a result, U.S. agricultural interests are well-positioned to facilitate a strong, two-way relationship when the embargo is lifted.”

USACC members across the nation reiterated the need to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba, which is located about 90 miles south of Florida.

Vorwerk said last week’s learning journey demonstrated for U.S. agricultural leaders how a meaningful relationship with the United States could benefit the Cuban people and provide new opportunities to boost Cuba’s agricultural capacity. In the long term, an end to the embargo also holds potential to provide access to a new market for U.S. producers.

During the visit from March 1-4, more than 95 representatives of USACC, representing more than a dozen U.S. states, met with officials of the Cuban government and learned about initiatives being undertaken in Cuba to boost food production.

USACC representatives prepare to join a Cuban Government official for a press conference during the recent USACC learning journey. Pictured L to R: Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, USACC Vice Chair Paul Johnson, USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Former Agriculture Secretary John Block, and Pablo Diaz Galindo, Department of Political and Economic Affairs, Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

USACC representatives prepare to join a Cuban Government official for a press conference during the recent USACC learning journey. Pictured L to R: Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, USACC Vice Chair Paul Johnson, USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Former Agriculture Secretary John Block, and Pablo Diaz Galindo, Department of Political and Economic Affairs, Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Statement on Freedom to Export to Cuba Act

23 February 2015

Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk made the following statement today regarding the introduction of the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers:

“We appreciate Sen. Klobuchar’s leadership to advance this bipartisan bill, modernize U.S. policy toward Cuba and boost opportunities for American agriculture. Ending the embargo will enable our agriculture sector to work in partnership with Cuba and the Cuban people, develop a meaningful trading relationship and create jobs across many sectors of our own economy. We urge quick action on this bill to open this new economic opportunity for U.S. farmers, ranchers and growers as soon as possible.”

The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

POST EMBARGO

Tell us your vision of what a post-embargo U.S. and Cuba relationship can look like!

FOOD SECURITY

The cornerstone for improved U.S. and Cuban relations is to develop a sustainable, healthy, and balanced agricultural economy.

Explore what Food Security means to our Members from both the U.S. and Cuba.

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usagcoalitionforcuba@gmail.com