Cuban agriculture explored as Dulaney Seed's Terry Dulaney participates in international leadership program
CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI/JOHNSTON, IOWA (August 26, 2016) – Dulaney Seed, Inc. President, Terry Dulaney recently was one of 17 members of a delegation visiting Cuba. Participants were all members of the Independent Professional Seed Association. Business leaders in the delegation represented various agricultural business segments serving the seed industry.
"It was certainly an eye-opening experience," said Dulaney, as he described the experience as taking a trip back in time. In 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's State Department imposed the first trade embargo on Cuba. That action covered all U.S. exports to Cuba except for medicine and some foods. The Kennedy administration expanded the embargo in 1962 to include U.S. imports from the country. As a result, the state of Cuban agriculture is far behind production methods and yields typically found in the U.S. Earlier this year, President Obama announced that the United States would resume diplomatic ties with Cuba.
Dulaney recently presented a summary of his trip to AgVenture, Inc. Regional Seed Company owners and managers from across the country in Des Moines, Iowa. In sharing his impressions, he said, "Some things were as I had anticipated, others were very different. Buildings and infrastructure were reminiscent of a time 55 years ago. Many of the cars, tractors and agricultural equipment were from the late 1950's vintage."
As part of their visit, the delegation met with Cuban Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America. During the meetings, the group participated in discussions with Cuban officials concerning agricultural practices in the country as they look toward improving management practices and agricultural production. The group discussed agricultural markets and production, and the potential for new options for working together in the future.
Dulaney said, "We were very impressed with the variety of crops they grow. However, one of the biggest obstacles they face is storing what they produce in their climate. They were very interested in learning from our delegation about how we grow and store crops, particularly rice and corn."
The group toured several farming operations – some state owned and other private facilities that produced a variety of field crops, fruits and vegetables.
Overall, Dulaney said the trip was very interesting. "The people are very welcoming and friendly. It was a great opportunity to share, to mutually shed some light on issues, and to build a future framework for sharing research, information, and ideas. It makes you realize just how much agriculture has advanced in the U.S. in the past five decades. It also made me appreciate how we, in this industry, go about the business of producing food and feeding the world."
AgVenture, Inc. is the nation's largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.