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Expansion of Trade Relations, Developing New Markets For Texas Agricultural Products Focus of Official Trade Mission to Cuba (2/23/2016)

AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) this week began an international trade mission to Cuba to explore trade opportunities for agricultural goods produced in Texas. The mission’s delegation includes TDA Deputy Commissioner Jason Fearneyhough, state lawmakers, and representatives from the cattle, rice, sorghum and wheat industries. The trip began on Monday, Feb. 22 and will conclude on Thursday, Feb. 25.

“Texas agriculture feeds the world every day, and TDA continues to establish and grow relationships with producers around the globe so Texas farmers and ranchers can tap into new markets for their goods, expand exports and create more jobs for Texans,” Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said. “Agricultural products are often the first to enter new and emerging international markets, and the diversity of Texas’ agriculture industry and the goods we produce here are appealing to consumers across the globe.”

The goal of this trip is to explore Cuba’s needs for agricultural products and identify areas for Texas farmers and ranchers to fill gaps and meet Cuba’s supply demands. The trip includes meetings with Cuban companies, like ALIMPORT, to develop business relationships, as well as tours of Cuban farms to identify various food needs that are not being met by domestic production in the country.

Delegates for the trade mission include:

  • Jason Fearneyhough, Deputy Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Rafael Anchia, State Representative, Texas House Representatives
  • Tracy King, State Representative, Texas House Representatives
  • Dr. Luis Ribera, Associate Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M University
  • Michael Goudeau, Director, JD Hudgins
  • Keith Gray, Director, Riviana Foods Inc. (Texas rice industry)
  • Jeff Madden,  Director, Texas Agricultural Trade Committee
  • Ben Scholtz, Director, dba B Scholz Farms (Texas wheat industry)
  • Robert Silva, Co-Chairman, Santa Gertrudis Breeders Association (Texas cattle industry)
  • Patrick Wade, Analyst, Texas Sorghum Grain Association (Texas sorghum industry)
  • Carlos Guerrero, International Marketing Coordinator, Texas Department of Agriculture

Many of Cuba’s most imported items — like wheat, corn, dairy, poultry meat and rice — are important agricultural products in Texas. According to the Center for North American Studies’ The Potential for Texas Agricultural Exports to Cuba report, Texas’ full agricultural export potential to Cuba is $18.8 million annually, for a total economic impact of $42.9 million to the Texas economy.

Texas agriculture is a $115 billion industry, and the Lone Star State is the largest producer of cattle, cotton, horses, hay, goats and sheep in the U.S. Texas’ role as an agricultural powerhouse puts the state in a unique position to work with countries to meet agriculture needs across the globe.