By Scott Fitzgerald
CNHI News Service
“It’s going to be a good deal that could generate up to $4 million revenue,” said Burlington farmer Keith Kisling, who is chairman of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and past chairman of the U.S. Wheat Association.
Past delegations to Cuba from Oklahoma in the last few years, which have included Kisling, have negotiated direct sales contracts between the Cuban government and Oklahoma wheat growers.
W.D. Johnston Grain Co. of Enid previously has transported grain by freight train directly to the Port of Houston, where it was loaded and shipped to Cuba.
This year, state Sen. Charles Wyrick, D-Fairland, will represent Oklahoma’s dairy industry, and state House Rep. Phil Richardson, R-Minco, will represent the pork industry as the delegation hopes to broaden its commodity offerings to the Cubans.
House Rep. Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, who chairs the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, also will accompany the delegation.
Others joining the delegation include Mike Mahoney of Wheeler Brothers Grain Co. of Watonga, and Rob McClendon, executive producer of “Oklahoma Horizon,” which airs media programs on the state economy.
McClendon, who traveled with a delegation in November 2004, said Cuban government officials favor Oklahoma’s hard red winter wheat because it offers the most suitable quality for their mills.
Scott Fitzgerald writes for the Enid (Okla.) News & Eagle.