Arkansas State Council

Hope Benedict
Bio-Tech Pharmacal, Inc.

Dow Brantley, Chair
USA Rice and Arkansas Rice Federation

Donald Bobbitt, President
University of Arkansas System

Bruce Burrow, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Wayne Callahan, Senior Advisor
Vestar Capital Partners

Mark Cochran, Vice President for Agriculture
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Terry Freeman, Consultant; Former President
Bibler Brothers Lumber and Construction

David Gairhan, Vice Chair
Arkansas Rice Farmers

Tim Graham, President
HUNT Ventures 

Andrew Grobmyer, Executive Vice President
Agricultural Council of Arkansas

Derek Haigwood
Arkansas Farmer

Burt Hanna, President & CEO, Hanna's Candle Company

Gary Heathcott, President

Dan Hendrix, President & CEO
World Trade Center Arkansas

Byron Holmes, Chair
USA Rice Nutrition Subcommittee

Mark Isbel, Farmer
USA Rice

Jennifer James, Chair, USA Rice Sustainability Committee

Bradley Manis, President & CEO
Mannco Fertilizer

Todd Martin, Executive Director & CEO
Independent Professional Seed Association

Kevin McGilton, Vice President
Riceland Foods

DeAnn McGrew, Director, Agriculture & Volunteer Programs
Winrock International

     Janet Harris, Director of Programs
     Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Randy McNeil, President
Poinsett Rice & Grain

Mark Middleton, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Robert Moery, Agriculture Liaison
Governor Asa Hutchinson

Herbert Morales, President
Latin American Business Solutions

Ben Noble, President
Noble Strategies

Steve Orlicek, President
Arkansas Rice Council; Rice Farmer

Linus Raines, Vice President
ATA International;
Director of Business Development, 
Green Stamp America, Inc.

Bill Reed Riceland, Vice President of Public Affairs

Mike Roberts, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Jeff Rutledge
Arkansas Rice Council

Mark Simmons, Chairman
Simmons Foods, Inc. & Affiliates

Cameron Smith, President
Cameron Smith & Associates

Keith Smith, Founder
Keith Smith Company

Chuck Stutte
Bio-Tech Pharmacal, Inc.

Johnny Sullivan, Vice President Sales & Marketing
Producers Rice Mill

Randy Veach, President
Arkansas Farm Bureau

Larry Wallace, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture

Melanie Wells,
ETW Enterprises, Inc. Shavings & Rice Hulls

    Andrew Grobmyer
    Executive Vice President, Agricultural        
    Council of Arkansas

    LSB Industries


Arkansas' Champions

                     Arkansas & Cuba in the News


The Hill: American Farmers Need the Cuban Market


American farmers are tough patriots, but they need strong export revenues to stay in business. Building new export outlets for American farmers and allied industries has become an imperative, and Cuba should be part of that mix.

KARK: Arkansas Lawmaker Aims to Help US Agribusiness Boost Sales to Cuba

Representatives from the United States' agricultural sector, include U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford of Arkansas, arrived in Cuba on Thursday for a conference aimed at promoting sales.

The Office of Sen. John Boozman: Boozman Recognizes National Rice Month

September is National Rice Month. U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the rice industry and the many positive contributions it makes in Arkansas. He also called for increased agricultural trade with Cuba.

Southwest Times Record: Arkansas ag group supports Cuba exports

Arkansas agricultural producers and organizations this week joined a bipartisan group of over 60 agriculture associations to urge leadership of the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture to include a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would save $690 million over 10 years.

Click here to read Engage Cuba’s press release about the Farm Bill provision.

Southwest Times Record: Arkansans "engaging" Cuban business

Engage Cuba, a coalition of private businesses and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, launched its Arkansas State Council at a press conference co-sponsored by USA Rice this week.

Southwest Times Record: Coalition seeks grassroots support in Arkansas for end to Cuba embargo

Engage Cuba, a coalition of businesses and organizations advocating an end to the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, said Monday it is launching an Arkansas group to organize grassroots support for a change in U.S. policy toward the island nation.

Arkansas Times: Arkansas rice growers push for Cuba trade

Engage Cuba, a business coalition, began an Arkansas affiliate today with a call for an end to travel and trade embargoes with Cuba.

Arkansas Business: Engage Cuba launches Arkansas council, calls for an end to trade restrictions

Engage Cuba President James Williams said Monday that Cuba would pledge to buy a significant amount of rice from the U.S. should the Congress allow trade on credit between the countries.

NWA: Cuban delegates talk trade & tourism at University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas, welcoming delegates from Cuba for a historic visit. Wednesday, the World Trade Center Arkansas, an extension of UA, hosted three delegates from the Cuban Embassy. 

Talk Business & Politics: Cuba group visits northwest Arkansas, Hanna's Candle owner hopes to open a plant in Cuba

Burt Hanna, owner of Fayetteville-based Hanna’s Candles and a longtime supplier to Walmart U.S., told Talk Business & Politics he is working on a proposal to set up a small manufacturing site in Cuba. 

Arkansas Matters: Arkansas and Cuba officials kick off trade discussions

While President Obama has been working to re-establish relations in Cuba, Arkansas has been doing the same. 

Delta Farm Press: Cuba working group goals and protecting farming operations

In mid-December, a working group from the House announced it would begin studying how best to deal with the emerging U.S./Cuba trade relationship. 

Delta Farm News: Arkansas leaders form new Engage Cuba state council to promote trade

The effort to restore Cuba as a major market for U.S. rice and other agricultural commodities took another step forward with the launch Monday (April 11) of the Arkansas State Council for Engage Cuba.

University of Arkansas: World Trade Center Arkansas delegation makes second Cuba visit

A World Trade Center Arkansas-led delegation of 25 business leaders, food producers, and educators made a second visit to Cuba, starting June 26.  

Reuters: In Cuba, Arkansas governor seeks to chip away at embargo

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday urged the U.S. Congress to allow food companies to sell to Cuba on credit, favoring it as a first step in a gradual repeal of sanctions against the Communist-led island. 

Arkansas Business: Cuba, Arkansas officials to hold agriculture roundtable

Winrock International, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and The Howard Baker Forum are planning a two-day, invitation-only roundtable examining how normalizing relations with Cuba could affect the American food and agriculture sector. 

University of Arkansas: Cuba ready to import Arkansas rice but embargo must go, diplomat says  

Arkansas rice would be popular in Cuba and the nation wants to buy it if the U.S. trade embargo is lifted, a Cuban diplomat said Wednesday.

NPR: Crawford discusses Cuba trip & embargo on Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas leads the nation in the amount of rice grown and is the 2nd largest poultry producer in the nation—two staples of Cuban cuisine. The Engage Cuba coalition made a comment about how Congress is handling the embargo. 

CBS Little Rock: Ark. Business: Engage Cuba, fiscal session, Dave and Buster's

A coalition of Arkansas business and academic leaders are joining a growing group calling for the end of the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. A group called “Engage Cuba” announced Monday the creation of an Arkansas State Council. 

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: In Little Rock, group calls for lifting of Cuba trade restrictions

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has also visited Cuba, and a representative from his office was among the group of 37 officials representing the state, agricultural and business interests to be named on the Arkansas council of the Engage Cuba Coalition, which seeks normalized relations. 

NPR: Group for ending Cuba embargo launches Arkansas council

James Williams, President of the umbrella group, Engage Cuba, said Arkansas lawmakers are leading the effort to lift the 55 year-old trade embargo against the country. 

The City Wire: Rep. Crawford: Cuba on cusp of change, U.S. should help open up the nation

Cubans are a proud people entering a period of major social change, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said Monday after returning from his first trip there last week. 

KFSM: Governor Asa Hutchinson arrives in Cuba for trade meetings  

Governor Asa Hutchinson is in Cuba, exploring opportunities to promote trade between Cubans, and the Natural State. 

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Gov. Asa Hutchinson urges easing of Cuba credit restrictions

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is urging congressional leaders to ease credit restrictions with Cuba and says doing so would open millions of dollars in new markets for his state. 

Star Tribune: In GOP, Emmer takes the lead on Cuba  

‘The House is a huge priority for us,’ said Steven Law, who runs the GOP super PAC American Crossroads and advises the Engage Cuba coalition.

Arkansas News: Crawford introduces bill to expand trade opportunities with Cuba

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at increasing trade opportunities with Cuba. 

Arkansas Business: Rick Crawford "very encouraged" after Cuba trip

From April 6-9, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., traveled to Cuba to gain a better understanding of the island country's people, culture, politics and challenges. 

KASU: Crawford explains how Cuba trade embargo affects Arkansas agribusiness

In preparation to his upcoming trip to Cuba, U.S. Representative Rick Crawford educated listeners on how the embargo affects Arkansas in his "Tune In" web series. 

  Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)-Arkansas

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)-Arkansas

  Representative Eric "Rick" Crawford (R-AR-1)   Sponsor of  H.R. 442-Cuba Trade Act of 2017  &  H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Representative Eric "Rick" Crawford (R-AR-1)

Sponsor of H.R. 442-Cuba Trade Act of 2017 & H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

  Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR-4)   Cosponsor of  H.R. 525 - Cuba Agricultural Exports

Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR-4)

Cosponsor of H.R. 525 - Cuba Agricultural Exports