(Havana) Gov. Dave Heineman and members of an 18-person agricultural delegation from Nebraska today signed private contracts with Cuban officials to import significant quantities of Nebraska wheat, soybeans and dry, edible beans.
Contracts signed today bring the total of Nebraska goods sold in Cuba since August to more than $27 million. Terms of the private contracts were not disclosed and may be released only with the consent of individual business participants.
The Governor, who helped Nebraska enter the Cuban market in August, signed each of the contracts on behalf of the state. Alimport Chairman Pedro Alvarez signed the contracts on Cuba’s behalf. Alimport imports most of the commodities that reach Cuban shores.
“We came back to Cuba with a specific goal of helping our private producers sign contracts to fulfill the $30 million memorandum of understanding I signed after our first visit,” Gov. Heineman said. “To have signed contracts for so much of that amount is a testament to Nebraska ag producers and their quality products.”
Following Gov. Heineman’s first trip here in August, Cuban officials signed a written letter of intent to purchase $30 million in Nebraska agricultural products over 18 months. To fulfill the letter of intent, they had to enter private contracts with Nebraska companies.
Among the new quantities agreed upon today were 87,500 metric tons of Nebraska wheat, 12,000 metric tons of dry, edible beans and 25,000 metric tons of soybean meal. Negotiations continue for additional Nebraska products.
Also signed today was a new memorandum of understanding with Cuba to purchase up to $5 million in Nebraska beef products and a new memorandum of understanding with the United Soybean Board to purchase an additional $30 million in U.S. soybeans, some of which will come from Nebraska producers.
Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach said of the trip, “The Governor’s decision to come to Cuba has been very good for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. We are extraordinarily pleased at the pace of contract execution, and we look forward to fostering a long-term trade relationship with our new customers.”
Joining the Governor and Ibach on the Nebraska Department of Agriculture trade mission are ag department representatives Stan Garbacz and Richard Sanne; Charles Whitmer of Stateline Bean in Bridgeport; Brett Morrison of Nebraska Bean in Clearwater; Gerald Timmerman of Nebraska Beef in Springfield; Glen Heitritter of Ag Processing Inc. in Omaha; Reid Adkins of International Nutrition in Omaha; Ron Stoddard, Patricia Nelson, Donna Sturdy, and Rick Larson of the Nebraska Wheat Board in Lincoln; Jack Revelle of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission in Scottsbluff; Craig Henkel and Michael Hoehn of the Nebraska Dry Bean Growers Association in Scottsbluff; and Norman Husa and Gregory Anderson of the Nebraska Soybean Board in Lincoln.
Congress amended the U.S.-Cuba trade embargo in 2000 to allow the legal sales of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba.