Press Release

WHO: National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO, several NASDA members and a NASDA industry guest will host a press conference to discuss learned opportunities and challenges to agricultural trade between the U.S. and Cuba on Feb. 21, 2024, following a NASDA-led trade mission to the country. 

Press Conference Participants: 
Ted McKinney, CEO, NASDA
Amanda Beal, Commissioner, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
Bryan Hurlburt, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Agriculture 
Christy Clark, Director, Montana Department of Agriculture 
Don Lamb, Director, Indiana State Department of Agriculture 
Hugh Weathers, Commissioner, South Carolina Department of Agriculture
Mike Strain, Commissioner, Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry
Thom Petersen, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture 
Ernesto Baron, FTA International, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council Representative (NASDA industry guest) 

WHERE & WHEN: The press conference will be held in Havana, Cuba, at the Grand Aston La Habana starting at 4:30pm ET.  

HOW: Please email Sarah Grace Fowler ( by 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, Feb. 20 to attend. 

WHAT: NASDA’s mission in visiting Cuba is to identify and address trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products, gain a better understanding of trade rules and regulations as well as the political and economic environment in order to strengthen the United States’ trade relationship with Cuba. While in-country, NASDA will meet with government officials, as well as industry and private sector leaders, to learn more about how the U.S. and Cuba can collaborate in the future. The delegation will consist of 13 people including NASDA members, an industry representative, supporting NASDA staff and Paul Johnson with FocusCuba. The delegation will be in-country Feb. 18-22, 2024. 

Follow NASDA on Instagram, X, LinkedIn and Facebook to follow along with the NASDA delegation as they discuss and tour Cuban food and agricultural businesses. 


NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. NASDA enhances American food and agricultural communities through policy, partnerships and public engagement. To learn more about NASDA, please visit

The audio file is a merging of multiple recordings taken during the press conference and does not contain the full press conference. The transcript was created from the merged audio and should serve as a guide. Please reference the audio recording for direct quotes.

Contact Information

Sarah Grace Fowler
Director, Communications
(202) 296-9680