Iowa State Council

Karey Claghorn, Chief Operating Officer
Iowa Soybean Association

Kirk Leeds, Chief Executive Officer
Iowa Soybean Association

Kurt Hora, Vice-President
Iowa Corn Growers Association

Leslie K. Wilson, Dean
University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration

Mark Settle, Educational Consultant
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Mike Tousley, Executive Vice President
The Weitz Company, LLC

Rand Fisher, President
Iowa Area Development Group

Ryan Carroll, International Trade Manager
Greater Des Moines Partnership

Steve Dust, President and CEO
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and TechWorks Campus

Tim Woods, President, Central Iowa Chapter
International Traders of Iowa

Tom Chapman, Executive Director
Iowa Catholic Conference

Tom Swegle, CEO
MedCara Pharmaceuticals

Valerie Newhouse, President
Iowa Lakes Community College

Wes Ehrecke, Board Member
Travel Federation of Iowa

Mike Ralston, President
Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture  
State of Iowa

Bishop Richard Pates
Catholic Diocese of Des Moines

Bob Hemesath, President
Iowa Corn Growers Association

Chad Kleppe, President and CEO
Master Builders of Iowa

Charlie Norris, Director
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

Cheryl Langston, Chair
Iowa Association of Community College Trustees

Craig Hill, President
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

Daniel Seufferlein, Partner
Ackley, Kopecky & Kingery LLP

David Holm, Executive Director
Iowa Institute for Cooperatives

Dimy Doresca, Director
University of Iowa Institute for International Business

Downing Thomas, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs
University of Iowa

Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, Dean
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Evan Berquist, Attorney
Frederikson and Byron

Farzad Moussavi, Director of Global Programs
University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration

Grant Kimberley, Executive Director
Iowa Biodiesel Board

Jay Byers, Chief Executive Officer
Greater Des Moines Partnership

Jerry Mohr, Chair
Iowa Corn Growers Association



Iowa's State Champions

Op-Ed: Des Moines Register: Restrictions on Cuba Hold Iowans Back

by James Williams and Bob Hemesath

Ending the travel and trade restrictions with Cuba would provide tremendous opportunities for Iowa businesses and enable economic mobility for the Cuban people. 

Iowa Public Television: Vilsack Hosts Cuban Agricultural officials in Iowa

Sec. Tom Vilsack:  “We have a tremendous opportunity in Cuba to expand exports of soybeans, rice and poultry at some point."

KCRG: Agribusiness Report: Cuba Delegation Explores Ag Science and Technology

In a historic delegation to Iowa by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Cuban Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, science and technology were big topics.

WNAX: Engage Coalition Formed in Iowa

The Engage Cuba coalition was formed in Iowa this weekend when Cuba’s Ag Minister visited the Hawkeye state. 

WHO-TV: Historic Visit By Cuba Delegation

In a historic trip, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Agriculture Minister of Cuba Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero was in Iowa as part of a delegation. 

KCRG-TV: Lobbying Group Forms Iowa Council on Lifting Cuba Trade Embargo

Engage Cuba's new Iowa state council is made up of more than two dozen Iowa industry leaders and government officials, including Iowa's secretary of agriculture. 

Sioux City Journal: Vilsack, Cuban Counterpart Visit Iowa

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero spent Friday touring highlights of Iowa farming and searching for common ground for agriculture as a starting point for normalizing relations between the two countries. 

The Quad-City Times: Vilsack gives Cuban Minister Taste of Iowa Ag

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero spent Friday touring highlights of Iowa farming and searching for common ground with agriculture as a starting point for normalizing relations between two countries at odds for decades.

Our Quad Cities: Engage Cuba Launches its Iowa State Council

That's why top officials are joining Engage Cuba, a group urging congress to lift the embargo completely.

Radio Iowa: Cuban Ag Secretary Visits Iowa Farm to Talk Trade

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his Cuban counterpart Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero toured a central Iowa corn and soybean farm todayand talked about water, soil, and energy. 

Des Moines Register: Iowa Farmer Hosts Top Cuba officials, Gets Cigars

Only a few years ago, it wouldn't have seemed possible. But on Friday morning, Aaron Heley Lehman's organic farm in Polk City played host to some of Cuba's top governmental officials. "It's just unbelievable," Lehman said.

We Are Iowa: Cuba & Iowa Officials Meet, Talk Agribusiness in Central Iowa

Cuban officials are visiting Iowa’s top agricultural officials Friday. It’s been 55 years since the economic embargo and trade restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. 

Tama News-Herald, Toledo Chronicle: Iowa Delegation Pleased with Trade Mission Efforts in Havana, Cuba

Trust, confidence and forging lasting bonds that will benefit both Iowans and Cubans. That's the message from Iowa legislators and participants who just returned from a trade mission to Havana, hoping to create economic and business agreements between Iowa business owners and entrepreneurs and the Cuban people.

The Gazette: Two Iowa lawmakers leading trade mission to Cuba

Two Democratic state legislators announced Thursday they will lead a delegation visiting Cuba next week looking to form relationships between Cuba and Iowa in order to open up options for potential future trade. 

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Some Iowans worried about Trump's new Cuba restrictions

The nearly 60-year-old embargo is harmful for Iowa farmers while other nations benefit from trade with a country just 90 miles from U.S. shores, added Jerry Mohr, an at-large director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a member of Iowa’s Engage Cuba coalition state council, a national nonpartisan organization working to end travel and trade restrictions on Cuba.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Lawmakers See Trade Opportunities in Cuba 

Two Iowa legislators have returned from a trade mission to Cuba saying they see a potential for business ties with the Caribbean nation, but were struck by its lack of infrastructure and a lack of basic public services that Americans take for granted.

Times-Republican: Iowa-Cuba Relationship Continues to Develop

President Obama's announcement this week he will travel to Cuba next month reaffirms a local lawmaker's efforts in trying to establish economic ties between the island nation and the state of Iowa. 

Daily Iowan: Cuba May Aid Iowa Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was among a group of American officials who accompanied President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba on Monday, and Iowa farmers are seeing dollar signs. 

Counterpunch: Cuba Reflections: On life and death

It’s not very often that you hear or see a salaried U.S. corporate media employee defend Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s Cuban Revolution and its accomplishments. 

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Local family's Cuba video shows vintage taxis, heart

You may recall a story last month about an Iowa City family’s two-pronged Christmas trip to Cuba to assist at a church and tour Havana. 

ABC News: Agribusiness Report: Farm Sales to Cuba increased without embargo lift

There is the possibility of increased trade and agricultural goods, which farm groups like the American Farm Bureau are pushing for. 

The Gazette: University of Iowa eyes Cuban study

As a University of Iowa senior studying political science and psychology, Jake Murphy long has been intrigued by Cuba. The island nation’s political and economic isolation from the United States since the 1960s has made it a sort of “forbidden fruit” for Americans, Murphy said.  

The Des Moines Register: Will Cuba be a gold mine for Iowa business? 

Many American businesses believe re-establishing trade with Cuba will prove a financial windfall, allowing them to bring their products and services to a market that’s been all but forbidden over the last five decades. 

The Gazette: Iowa lawmakers open Cuban doors

After visiting Cuba back in January, State Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt returned with a refreshed appreciation for democracy. And toilet paper. 

Radio Iowa: Engage Cuba Coalition Launches in Iowa

The Engage Cuba coalition is launching a state council in Iowa. Coalition president James Williams spoke at a news conference in Des Moines where he says the goal is to lift the trade embargo with Cuba. 

WHOTV: Engage Cuba Coalition Urging Iowans to Put Pressure on Politicians

Last summer, President Obama began renewing relations with Cuba by opening the U.S. Embassy. However, the effort to lift the Cuba's trade embargo is still far from over. 

Des Moines Register: Vilsack Hopes Meeting Will Push Congress on Cuba Trade Deal

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he is optimistic a visit with his Cuban counterpart Friday in Iowa can help build pressure on Congress to fully lift the embargo on trade with the communist country. 

AgWeb: Trade Groups Push Promise of Cuba for U.S. Farmers

Opening the door to U.S. ag exports to Cuba could reap substantial gains for U.S. farmers, who have lost market share to competitors in Asia and Latin America, according to a new ag trade report. 

CBS: What Do Iowans See in Cuba? Opportunity

Some Iowans hope a trip to a place few could travel to before--Cuba--will bring new connections and possibilities for themselves and the state. 

State Senator Steve Sodders (D) Represents District 36 Sponsors SR 6, Resolution Urging the US Congress to Lift the Cuban Embargo

State Senator Steve Sodders (D)

Represents District 36

Sponsors SR 6, Resolution Urging the US Congress to Lift the Cuban Embargo