KANSAS STATE COUNCIL
MIKEMCCLELLAN, VICE CHAIRMAN
KANSAS WHEAT COMMISSION
MARK NELSON, DIRECTOR OF COMMODITIES
KANSAS FARM BUREAU
AARON POPELKA, VP OF LEGAL AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
KANSAS LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION
IVRY KARAMITROS, DIRECTOR
WORLD TRADE CENTER KANSAS CITY
DAVID SCHEMM, VICE PRESIDENT
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS
KANSAS CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION
KANSAS CORN COMMISSION
Ken Wood, Vice President
Kansas Association of Wheat Growers
Chris Gutierrez, President
Jay Armstrong, Past Chairman
Kansas Wheat Commission
Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association
Kevin Ekstrand, Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Lucas Heinen, Vice President
Kansas Soybean Association
Dennis Hupe, Director of Field Services
Kansas Soybean Commission
Brian Linin, Chairman
Kansas Wheat Commission
Mike Jordan, President
Kansas Association of Wheat Growers
Leslie Kaufman, President/CEO
Kansas Cooperative Council
DOUG KEESLING, CO-CHAIR
USACC STATE SUPPORT COMMITTEE
Kansas' STATE CHAMPIONS
Op-Ed: THE WICHITA EAGLE: OPENING TRADE HELPS CUBA, KANSAS
by Mike Jordan
With current decade-low commodity prices and pressures on the U.S. agriculture economy, we need to be strengthening trade relationships, not prohibiting them. After 55 years of failed policy, it’s time for Congress to lift the travel and trade embargo on Cuba. This will benefit the Cuban people and the Kansas agribusiness industry, a significant contributor to our state’s economy. Jordan Jordan Cuba’s private sector is expanding rapidly, creating growing markets across almost every sector of Cuba’s economy, particularly in agriculture.
Butler County Times-Gazette: Cuban Millers Meet Kansas Farmers
An informational exchange with a group of Cuban flour mill professionals will be hosted by Kansas Wheat this week. The millers represent two of the six flour mills in Cuba and the even will allow these Cuban millers to experience Kansas farming and its wheat industry first hand. Marcelo Mitre technical specialist from the USW Mexico City office will be traveling with the team. The trip includes tours of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, the IGP Institute, the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the Kansas Grain Inspection Service.
Kansas agriculture groups to push for the lifting of the trade embargo on Cuba. The Wichita Eagle reports that Engage Cuba's State Council includes representatives of the Kansas Wheat Commission, Soybean Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, and the Kansas Corn Growers Association.
Agriculture leaders representing America’s grain farmers and ag equipment manufacturers expressed their passion for overcoming obstacles to restore agricultural trade with Cuba during a U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) event at Commodity Classic. Ron Suppes, a wheat farmer from Dighton, Kan., and past chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, spoke on behalf of Kansas wheat farmers at the event. “Trade between Cuba and the U.S. is a win-win situation primarily because of the close proximity to one another,” said Suppes. “Fifty years is a long time. It is time to drop the embargo.”
WICHITA BUSINESS JOURNAL: FROM KANSAS TO CUBA
As a fifth-generation farmer, Doug Keesling’s livelihood depends on his ability to sell crops in as many markets as possible, even if that includes exporting to a foreign country. Keesling, whose farming operations between Chase and Lyon counties involve corn, milo, soybeans, and wheat, says the Kansas agricultural sector could benefit from exporting products to Cuba.
THE TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNAL: SEN. PAT ROBERTS, KANSAS AGRICULTURE SECRETARY CALL FOR CUBA TRADE EXPANSION
In U.S. Senate testimony Tuesday, a former chairman of the Kansas Wheat Commission joined Sen. Pat Roberts in calling on Congress to expand agricultural trade with Cuba. “Agriculture has long been used as a tool — not a weapon — for peace and stability,” Roberts said. “It is my hope that Cuba will embrace the practices of free trade, enterprise and commerce, so that both countries will gain from increased relations.”
Wheat is Cuba’s second largest import. “Right now they’re getting that all from Europe and Canada,” said Gary Millershaski, President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. The US is the largest exporter of the grain, not to mention one of Cuba’s closest neighbors. “It’s really not made a lot of sense in the past for, for example, Canada to sell wheat to Cuba,” explained Ron Suppes, a representative of Kansas on the US Wheat Board. “They go around the US to get down there so [they] have a lot higher freight rates.” Which means the US could sell wheat at a competitive price or keep the price the same and make more money. “We’ve tried doing what we’ve been doing for 50 years, and it hasn’t worked, so maybe something new needs to be tried,” Suppes said.
Kansas Agland: Working to Break Down Barriers in Cuba
With each trip, Rice County farmer Doug Keesling is seeing a different Cuba. The fifth-generation farmer sat at his kitchen table one spring afternoon, wheat fields surrounding his farmstead. He has made four trips to Cuba in the past year representing Kansas Wheat. The latest journey was in late March, amid President Obama’s own trip to the country – the first trip for a president in nearly 90 years. Keesling is seeing change in the communist country even just a year later.
President Barack Obama's announcement this week to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease some economic restrictions has been closely followed in Kansas, as the move could open up a major market for winter wheat producers."This is a Kansas issue because wheat is Cuba's second largest import, right behind oil," U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran said Friday. The Republican senator urged the Treasury Department to immediately rewrite cumbersome regulations that have made it difficult to sell wheat and other farm commodities to Cuba — saying the agency can take that step even before Congress grapples with whether to entirely lift the U.S. trade embargo.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES: KANSAS FARMER WORKING TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS IN CUBA
With each trip, Rice County farmer Doug Keesling is seeing a different Cuba. The fifth-generation farmer sat at his kitchen table one spring afternoon, wheat fields surrounding his farmstead. He has made four trips to Cuba in the past year representing Kansas Wheat. The Hutchinson News reports that the latest journey was in late March, amid President Obama’s own trip to the country - the first trip for a president in nearly 90 years. Keesling is seeing change in the communist country even just a year later. For starters, getting to Cuba is easier. He flew American Airlines. He saw signs of an economic uptick. Residents, he said, are more entrepreneurial, from the farmers’ markets to opening restaurants from their homes.