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

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, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Salado, Texas
  • Charlie O’Brien, Senior Vice President, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Milwaukee
  • 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.

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