Earlier this year a group of Louisiana government and industry leaders paid a visit to the island nation of Cuba. That visit was very encouraging to those who went. The Cuban market holds an extensive upside for Louisiana businesses. Especially those businesses who are connected to agriculture.

The recent death of the long time Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, could be another positive step in advancing relations between Cuba and the United States. This would also bode very well for Louisiana interests too.

I'm hopeful and optimistic that as time moves forward we are going to be able to re-establish that historical relationship that we had with Cuba before the revolution.

Those comments were made to the Louisiana Radio Network by Governor John Bel Edwards. Edwards was a part of that trip to Cuba in October.

Edwards suggested in his comments that the recent thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba under the Obama administration and the positive messages from the incoming Trump administration could really be a benefit to our state's rice industry. 

We have the best rice in the world, we are right here close to them and yet they continue to buy their rice from Vietnam. It takes 30 days to ship that inferior Rice to Cuba.

It's obvious that there are many more political obstacles that have to be conquered but at least the door is open. Whether or not the current or any new leadership of Cuba will want to continue or improve trade relations has yet to be determined. For Louisiana rice producers and other interest in our state a change in those relations could mean a totally new market for their goods and services.