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Vilsack Announces Agriculture Measures During U.S.-Cuba Trip

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other U.S. agriculture industry officials last week joined President Obama on his two-day trip to Cuba, marking the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 years. Secretary Vilsack announced several measures to foster collaboration between the U.S. and Cuban agriculture sectors, including allowing funds from federal check-off and marketing order programs to be used to finance research, promotion and marketing operations in Cuba. The two countries also developed a memorandum of understanding to increase bilateral cooperation in agriculture to advance agriculture technologies, agricultural productivity, food security and sustainable natural resource management. USDA, however, is still barred from using Market Access Programs and Foreign Market Development funds to promote U.S. agriculture goods in Cuba. Cuba imports approximately 80 percent of its food and represents a market worth nearly $2 billion annually.

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