U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is leading a delegation of U.S. Government officials traveling to Havana that began Nov. 11 and ends Nov. 14, marking the first official U.S. Department of Agriculture visit to Cuba since 1961. Secretary Vilsack will be accompanied by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell of Alabama, Suzan DelBene of Washington and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

“This trip will be an opportunity to support the administration’s commitment to normalizing relations and empowering the Cuban people through bilateral agricultural engagement,” Vilsack said. “Food and agricultural goods are the dominant U.S. exports to Cuba and agriculture can serve as a bridge to foster cooperation, understanding and the exchange of ideas. Expanding markets for American agriculture has been a priority for this Administration, and relationships like the one we aim to build with Cuba are crucial to continuing the momentum we have seen over the past six years.”

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The schedule includes meetings with Cuban government officials in agriculture, foreign affairs, and food purchasing. The delegation also plans to visit port facilities, markets and cooperatives.

To get an update on the trip from Secretary Vilsack, follow USDA Press on Twitter@USDAPress.