Texas Wheat Board to Participate in Cuba Trade Mission Trip

AMARILLO — Representatives of the Texas Wheat Producers Board will travel to Cuba to take part in the Texas Cuba Trade Mission Trip to be held April 25-29, 2015.

The mission of the trip is to analyze market availability and establish relationships with potential importers in the country.

Three executive committee members, Ken Davis of Grandview, Freddie Streit of Vernon, and Ben Scholz of Lavon will participate in the trip, along with Rodney Mosier, Texas wheat producers executive vice president.

Prominent North American grain company, Atteburry Grain LLC, a longtime supporter and partner of the Texas Wheat Producers Board checkoff program, will also be involved in the market conversations.

Cuba, who does not grow wheat commercially, is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, purchasing two-thirds of its wheat from the European Union and the remaining amount from Canada. Due to current marketing restrictions, has not purchased U.S. wheat since 2011. The U.S. Wheat Associates estimates that within two years, exports to Cuba could reach $450 million and U.S. wheat market share in the region could jump from zero to 80-90 percent.

According to a recent study by Texas A&M, wheat was a major Texas staple exported to Cuba in 2008 and overall trade between the countries created more than 750 jobs in Texas. Texas ranks fifth in highest potential agricultural exports to Cuba, and has a distinct location advantage with port access in at least Houston, Corpus Christi, and Beaumont.

The U.S. Wheat Associates and the Texas Wheat Producers Board have focused on developing opportunities, like the Cuba Trade Mission Trip, to collaborate with potential buyers in Cuba. The organizations’ goal is to capitalize on the potential economic impact and market growth that could develop following legislative action to end the Cuban embargo or lift current market restrictions.

The Texas Wheat Producers Board is a statewide board funded by a voluntary two cent per bushel checkoff program. Checkoff funds are used for research, market development and education to further the wheat industry in Texas and support the profitability of wheat producers. For more information, visit http://www.texaswheat.org.

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