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Minnesota AG Commissioner Reflects On Trip To Cuba

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota's Commissioner of Agriculture, Dave Frederickson, admits he was a little apprehensive going to back to Cuba.

The last time he was there, he was in the service.

"I was a PCF in Missouri in October of 1962 when the country was put on the highest alert ever and so I had a little baggage when I went to Cuba last week," Frederickson said.

Once he got there, however, he was met with open arms.

"It was sort of an epiphany for me," he said.

During the visit, he and several others toured farms and markets to gauge how the country's food production process works.

Frederickson says it will be up to federal lawmakers to remove trade limitations, and he says U.S agriculture is ready to be a major trading partner with Cuba once that happens.

"There's something abuzz in Cuba," Frederickson said.

He described a new feeling in the country as there have been several steps taken toward normalizing trade.

"People there are excited about the future," he said.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has introduced the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act, and Representative Tom Emmer co-introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015.

Frederickson said potential exports from the U.S and Minnesota include potatoes, poultry products, soybean products, corn, animal feed, and processed foods.

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