Press Release

Ag Leaders Unite to Overcome Obstacles that Hinder More Ag Trade with Cuba

February 25, 2016

U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba

Media Advisory

Ag Leaders Unite to Overcome Obstacles that Hinder More Ag Trade with Cuba


During a Commodity Classic press conference, farm leaders from the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) will stand together to show their support for progress made to open up trade with Cuba. Members will highlight specific actions on credit issues and financial obstacles that must be overcome to increase U.S. market share. The USACC supports an end to the embargo with Cuba. Speakers will share their experiences in Cuba while highlighting opportunities and challenges that exist to strengthen trade with this market that is just 90 miles off the U.S. coast and across the Gulf of Mexico from New Orleans.

The USACC is America’s largest ag coalition focused on improving agricultural trade between the U.S. and Cuba.

When:            Wednesday, March 2, 11 a.m. local time

Where:           Room 257 of the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans


Speakers include:

            - Paul Johnson, Co-Chair, USACC, Chicago

            - Mike Strain, Commissioner, Louisiana Dept of Agriculture and Forestry (invited)

            - Joel Schreurs, Director, American Soybean Association, Tyler, Minn.

- Brett Blankenship, President, National Association of Wheat Growers, Washtucna, Wash.

            - Wayne Cleveland – Executive Director, National Sorghum Producers, Salado, Texas

- Charlie O’Brien, Senior Vice President, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Milwaukee, Wis.

- Tom Sleight, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council, DC

- Ron Suppes, Past Chairman, U.S. Wheat Associates, Dighton, Kan.

            - Brenda Verslues, Domestic and International Marketing Manager, Missouri Dept. of Agriculture, Ashland, Mo.

Following the event, various USACC members will be available for interviews. See the charter for a complete list of members.

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.

For additional information, please contact:

Amy Roady, Illinois Soybean Growers communications director,, 618 535-7937
Paul Johnson, USACC, co-chair,, 773 814-2493

For a list of non-agricultural organizations that support a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, see 




U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba




Coalition Background: Prominent members of the U.S. food and agriculture community agreed to officially form a national coalition to address liberalizing trade between the United States and Cuba. The coalition’s primary focus is on ending the embargo and allowing open trade and investment to occur.


Under current sanctions, U.S. food and agriculture companies can legally export to Cuba.  However, financing restrictions limit the ability of the U.S. industry to competitively serve the market.  Foreign competitors such as Canada, Brazil, the European Union and Argentina are increasingly taking market share from U.S. industry because those countries do not face the same restrictions on financing. 


Cuba is a logical market for U.S. food and agriculture exports with 11 million consuming citizens only 90 miles off the coast of the United States. Normalizing trade relations between the United States and Cuba will enhance Cuban citizens’ access to affordable food while providing the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities.  Liberalized trade will drive growth in both countries and allow the U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies to efficiently address Cuban citizens’ food security needs.


Coalition Purpose: The purpose of the coalition is to re-establish Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports. 


Coalition Approach: 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.


Coalition Membership


Agriculture Organizations National

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Soybean Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Feed Industry Association

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Cherry Marketing Institute

Corn Refiners Association

Council of State Governments

CNFA: Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture

Dairy Farmers of America

Global Aquaculture Alliance

International Dairy Foods Association


National Association of Wheat Growers

National Association of Egg Farmers

National Barley Growers Association

National Black Growers Council

National Chicken Council

National Corn Growers Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Farmers Union

National Foreign Trade Council

National Grain and Feed Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Sorghum Producers

National Turkey Federation

North American Export Grain Association

North American Meat Institute

Rural & Agricultural Council of America

Soyfoods Association of North America

US Canola Association

US Cattlemen’s Association

US Dairy Export Council

US Dry Bean Council

US Grains Council

US Soybean Export Council

US Wheat Associates

US Rice Producers Association

USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council

USA Rice Federation


State Agriculture Organizations

Agribusiness Council of Indiana

Arkansas Rice Growers Association

Arkansas Farm Bureau

Arkansas Rice Growers Association

California Rice Producers

Illinois Cuba Working Group

Illinois Soybean Growers

Illinois Farm Bureau

Indiana Farm Bureau

Indiana Corn Growers Association

Indiana Soybean Alliance

Indiana Corn Marketing Council

Iowa Farm Bureau

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA

Food Export – USA Northeast

Louisiana Rice Council

Michigan Agri-Business Association

Michigan Apple Association

Michigan Bean Shippers

Michigan Bean Commission

Michigan Milk Producers Association

Michigan Corn Growers Association

Michigan Soybean Association

Michigan Potato Industry Commission

Missouri Corn Growers Association

Missouri Soybean Association

Missouri Department of Economic Development

Missouri Department of Agriculture
Missouri Rice Council

Missouri Forest Products Association

Missouri Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau

Mississippi Rice Council

Texas Farm Bureau

University of Missouri-Fisher Delta Research Center

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services


Agriculture Corporations





Cargill, Incorporated

Chicago Foods International

Campbell Farms

Clark AG Company


Franklin Electric

GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Hampton Alternative Energy & Feedlot

Hover Farms

Intertek Agriculture Services

Kaehler Agriculture Enterprises

Kerley Nutritional Consulting

Louis Dreyfus Commodities

Missouri BioZyme, Inc

Missouri Burnett Farms

Martin Rice Company

Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Inc

Net Worth Feeds & Feeding

Orrick Farm Services

Sandy Ridge Cotton Company

Smithfield Foods

South Louisiana Rail Facility

Sun-Maid Growers of California

St. James Winery

Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc.

Thomas E. Jennings and Associates, Inc.

US Wellness Meats