Monday, October 31, 2005

More Vt. cows expected headed to Cuba

More Vt. cows expected headed to Cuba

October 31, 2005

MONTPELIER, Vt. --Cuban agriculture officials like the 74 Holstein and
Jersey heifers they got from Vermont in August so much that they want
more, Vermont Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr says.

Kerr said more than 100 Vermont cows are expected to be in the mix of
some 300 from the Northeast that the Cuban government is likely to order
this week.

"Little Debbie," a Jersey heifer that was a gift from the Putney School
to the people of Cuba, as well as a Holstein from the school, are being
displayed outside a pavilion at this week's Havana Trade Fair.

Little Debbie recently gave birth to a bull, her first calf.

John Park Wright IV, a Florida businessman who has a U.S. government
license to deal with Cuba, brokered the first shipment of Vermont cows
to the Caribbean nation and is handling the new deal as well, Kerr said.

Jerseys, Brown Swiss and Holsteins from Vermont will be included under
the new agreement, Kerr said. He added that Cuban inspectors are
expected to travel to Vermont this winter to pick out the animals.

Wright will negotiate the price of the cows with individual farmers.
Kerr said the average for the last load was $2,100, but milk prices are
beginning to decline, and livestock prices may follow suit.

"I don't have a clue," Kerr said of the prices the new round of animals
might fetch. "It's whatever the market will bear."

Kerr said the fact that the two Vermont cows were being displayed
outside the trade pavilion was a sign that the Cubans value the Vermont

"The two cows are from Vermont and we're very proud and the Putney
School should be very proud," Kerr said.

Aside from cows, Cuba last year said it would buy powdered milk and
4,000 bushels of Vermont apples. The apple sale has been stalled because
Cuban inspectors have run into trouble getting visas from the U.S. State

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