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Cuba Pact Coming?

North Dakota ag officials hope to issue good news this week about new deals with Cuba for seed potato, malting barley, distillers grains, dry beans and other commodities.

Roger Johnson, North Dakota ag commissioner, has been in Cuba with a group of farmers, processors and state officials. They have been negotiating with Cuban import officials

A key is step is in selling seed potatoes to Cuba is that Cuban inspectors be granted timely visas to visit North Dakota and check the shipments, Johnson said in a press conference last week.

The Cuban government will require a specific label and package for shipment into their country.

"The Cubans also want a phytosanitary requirement for barley malt, something that isn't now required by the U.S., but is required by other international markets," Johnson says. "Our phytosanitary experts will work with the federal officials to develop a process that will permit the first shipments of North Dakota barley malt to go to Cuba."

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