Cuba to purchase food from Nebraska

HAVANA (AP) – Cuba agreed Wednesday to buy another $30 million in food from Nebraska, strengthening trade relations with a U.S. farm state already selling corn, wheat, soybeans and other products to the communist island.

Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and Agriculture Director Greg Ibach led the trade delegation, which included meat and other agriculture producers on the four-day trip.

In August, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman visited Cuba and signed a separate deal to export $30 million in agricultural products in an 18-month period. Most of those deals have since been completed, said Pedro Alvarez, head of the Cuban food import firm Alimport.

“We’ve had a great commerce experience with Nebraska and this shows the desire of many (U.S.) states to work for free trade with the United States,” Alvarez told The Associated Press at Havana’s historic Hotel Nacional during a breakfast hosted by Farmland Foods Inc. featuring Nebraska pork and other meat products.

Sheehy said the new deal will include the export of pork, cattle, poultry, wheat, corn, soybeans, dry beans and dairy in the next 18 months.

“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the state and Gov. Heineman saw an opportunity in Cuba to expand our market,” Sheehy said.

Alvarez said the new trade deal includes a $2.8 million meat purchase from Farmland Foods Inc.

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