The TCTA is designed to support the effort with current information about economics, business opportunities, and export trade policies.

The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and TCTA will hold a workshop on "Doing Business with Cuba" at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at noon on Feb. 24, 2004.

Other conference sponsors include Texas Cooperative Extension and the Lubbock County Farm Bureau. Speakers for the event are Cynthia Thomas, TriDimension Strategies, Parr Rosson, Texas Cooperative Extension and Jaime Malaga, Texas Tech University.

"While it is now legal to export of food and agricultural products to Cuba, awareness of these opportunities is low, and we want to bring the latest information to our region of the state," said Jay Dycus, vice president of business development for the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

A recent study by the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M University estimated that potential food and agricultural exports from Texas to Cuba could reach $57 million, generating another $132 million in related business sales and 1,500 new jobs in the next three to five years.

"Major Texas exports are expected to be wheat, corn, rice, beef, chicken, softwood logs and lumber, and fertilizers," said Parr Rosson, co-author of the study, and professor and Extension economist at Texas Cooperative Extension.

"The Cuban market has a lot of potential and will definitely develop into a valuable export market for Texas agribusiness," said Cynthia Thomas, president of TriDimension Strategies. "TCTA stands ready to provide Texas farmers and ranchers with the resources they need to navigate this new territory."

"The TCTA was created in part to provide networking opportunities within the community. The trade alliance serves an educational function for those interested in learning more about the market and making successful sales contracts in Cuba," said Wayne Cleveland, executive director of the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers, a sponsor of the event.

Until formation of the TCTA, Texas farmers found the process of seeking agricultural trade with Cuba to be confusing and many believed these exports were not allowed. With the TCTA website, Texas farmers can understand trade related issues and get access to trade related resources. The TCTA web address is www.TCTA.us.

To register for the conference, contact Parr Rosson or Connie Moore at (979) 845-3070 or Jay Dycus, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce at 761-7003.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com