Jefferson City – Following the death of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, Gov. Jay Nixon will no longer be traveling to Havana from March 1-4 with members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) as previously planned.  First Lady Georganne Nixon will represent the State of Missouri and lead the delegation on the Governor’s behalf.  The delegation includes 95 current and former government officials, industry representatives, and agriculture leaders including two former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture.

The First Lady and Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Richard Fordyce will be joined on the trade mission by representatives of several leading Missouri agricultural groups.

“The First Lady has represented the State of Missouri on numerous trade missions in the past and is well-prepared to lead this important delegation,” said Gov. Nixon. “This is a historic opportunity to boost demand for our agricultural goods here in Missouri and I’m confident that this will be a productive mission for the benefit of farmers, ranchers and all Missourians.”

The First Lady will be meeting with high-level Cuban officials, including the ministry of agriculture, the ministry of tourism, ministry of trade and the ministry of foreign affairs.  The First Lady will also meet with Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, and address a reception in honor of the delegation at the ambassador’s residence.

“I’m honored to represent the State of Missouri as we explore opportunities to increase exports, create jobs and continue growing our economy,” said First Lady Georganne Nixon. “On previous trade missions to Brazil, China, Taiwan, Korea, Canada and Europe, I have seen first-hand how these missions can have a real and positive impact on our economy here at home, and I look forward to helping build on this progress in Cuba.”

The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) is a coalition of more than 40 food and agriculture companies and organizations united around the opportunity presented by a more open U.S.-Cuba relationship and committed to ending the embargo and allowing open trade and investment to occur.

Travel costs for the First Lady will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri; state taxpayer funds will not be used.