(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor and the Kansas Soybean Update.
(Greg Akagi) This is the Kansas Soybean Update. It’s brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers. Lucas Heinen from Everest, Kansas, serves as First Vice President of the Kansas Soybean Association. Lucas, you’re a member along with other agriculture and business leaders on the Engage Cuba Kansas State Council. What is the council’s purpose? (Lucas Heinen) The council’s purpose is to try and break into the Cuban market for agricultural products, soybeans, along with wheat, along with corn. Members of Farm Bureau over there, all sitting around the table trying to figure out a way to access a market that is so close to our shores that our ships have to go right on by. (Greg) For a soybean producer out there, why is that Cuban market important? You talked about the regionality of it, and how close it is, 90 miles from the United States border in Florida, but what kind of market for soybeans would there be in Cuba? (Lucas) There’s a $2 billion opportunity for agricultural products, of that soybeans take up about a third. We have an opportunity to export whole bean, soybean oil, soybean meal. We have a huge transportation and our cost advantage versus other countries, and we’d like to tap into that, and put our soybean on the boat. Again, just send them right down the road to a spot that is more than happy to have them. (Greg) If you think, 55 years that the embargo has been put in place, and 11 million people on Cuba, that’s quite the opportunity if this embargo were lifted? (Lucas) I believe so. I’m too young to remember when the embargo was put in place. I do understand that it hasn’t worked. The same people are in power. Why not try something different? If it hasn’t worked for 55-56 years, let’s go a different route. We know the people that are hungry. We know that they want to buy our product, and not only do they want to import our soybeans, our agricultural goods, but let’s import a little bit of America there too and see what happens. (Greg) Without being able to trade with Cuba, countries like Canada and several countries in Europe, it’s to their advantage to trade with Cuba? (Lucas) Absolutely. Cuba imports a lot of grain from Canada, and Europe, like you said, and even South America. They want our products. Not only is it good for us, because we have such a huge advantage in transportation costs, but it’s good for them because they can pay less for the same thing. (Greg) Lucas, we appreciate your time. Thank you very much. (Lucas) Thank you. (Greg) That is Lucas Heinen who serves as First Vice President of the Kansas Soybean Association. He’s been our guest on the Kansas Soybean Update. It’s brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers. Learn more at kansassoybeans.org for Kansas Soybeans. I’m Greg Akagi.
(Jamie) Hope you enjoyed this week’s Kansas Soybean Update! Stay with us after the break for more Farm Factor with Kyle Bauer and Ron Graber.