IFB delegate on Cuba trip “extremely humbled”

Thomas Marten

Calling it a “huge honor,” Thomas Marten describes himself as “excited and extremely humbled” to represent Illinois Farm Bureau on a trip to Cuba in March.

“I really care deeply about moving our state forward,” he said. “We’ve seen some difficult times in this country. I think trade, especially in agriculture, has been one bright spot for our nation and for our state. We continue to see that grow and develop and if we can continue moving that forward, I think that’s only going to be good for farmers in Illinois and around the Midwest.”

Marten will join dozens of others from across the country during the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) “Learning Journey to Cuba” March 1-4.

Marten visited Cuba as part of IFB’s 2012 Cuba Market Study Tour. He has also visited Brazil, Panama and Colombia.

Because of U.S. and Cuban restrictions, the 2012 visit to Cuba was limited mostly to the city of Havana, he said. This year, he said, he hopes to see more rural agricultural production areas, visit some ports and meet with government officials.

USACC describes the trip as the “first major U.S. business delegation to Cuba” since President Barack Obama announced plans to normalize relations with Cuba in December.

Marten said the president’s announcement marks “an exciting time for both countries.”

By Deana Stroisch, Farm Week Now

January 30, 2015

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