Governor Jay Nixon will lead a trade delegation to Cuba next week. Nixon hopes Missouri can take advantage of the normalization of relations with the island nation.

Governor Jay Nixon delivers his final State of the State Address.  (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Governor Jay Nixon (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Nixon will take with him his Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce; and his Economic Development Director Mike Downing; Dr. Carlos Vargas, President of Southeast Missouri State University; Gary Wheeler, of the Missouri Soybean Association; Silvia Hollis, of Mid-Continent Aircraft, Hayti; Thorstein Holt, of Holtec Gas Systems, Chesterfield; Brady Moses, of SatCommX, Lampe; Jeffrey Fort, of MOM Brands Sales, St. Louis; and several representatives of Martin Rice, of Bernie.

Nixon will meet with officials with the Cuban government, and with those at the U.S. Embassy, for an update on the progress toward increasing trade.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste says agriculture trade will be a focus of the mission; particularly rice.

“Prior to the mid-2000s there had continued to be exports of rice from the United States to Cuba, but about ten years or so ago that was shut off,” said Holste. “There really hasn’t been an open market in Cuba for rice from Missouri but now that’s a picture that’s changing.

Missouri’s First Lady will also be on the mission to Cuba. She represented Missouri in a visit to that nation last year when Governor Nixon stayed in Missouri to attend the funeral of Auditor Tom Schweich.

The Hawthorn Foundation will pay for the Governor and First Lady’s travel.