ACCRA – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky led a trade mission to West Africa, October 28-31, to help United States exporters foster new opportunities in a region where strong economic growth is driving demand for American exports of food and farm products. The trade mission was based in Accra, Ghana, and included buyer delegations from Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal.
During his visit, Deputy Secretary Censky met with Government of Ghana officials, private sector representatives, members of business associations, and academic institutions. On Monday, October 28, Deputy Secretary Censky paid a visit to both the Minister of Food and Agriculture Owusu Afriye Akoto as well as the Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen. In both meetings, Deputy Secretary Censky discussed bilateral agricultural trade. The Deputy Secretary also interacted with African alumni from two U.S. government agricultural exchange programs – the Cochran Fellowship and the Borlaug Fellowship. The alumni received training in the United States to develop market-driven food systems and increase trade links with U.S. agribusinesses, and performed research at U.S. institutions in topics ranging from animal health, food safety, and biotechnology.
On Tuesday, October 29, Deputy Secretary Censky led a roundtable discussion with University of Ghana representatives of the schools of veterinary medicine, agriculture, and animal science about the link between Ghanaian agriculture education and agriculture production. That evening, Deputy Secretary Censky met with the American Chamber of Commerce-Ghana (AMCHAM) to confer about the current business climate in Ghana, potential regional agricultural and export opportunities for U.S. products, and networked with AMCHAM members in the food and agricultural sector.
On Wednesday, October 30, Deputy Secretary Censky met with Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta to discuss opportunities for U.S. businesses in Ghana and how U.S. agribusinesses can contribute to Ghana’s vision for agricultural sector prosperity. The Deputy Secretary also met with the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament. During this meeting, Deputy Secretary Censky discussed with Ghanaian legislators U.S. engagement and investment in the Ghanaian agriculture sector as well as the benefits of U.S. agricultural trade to domestic industries and Ghanaian consumers.
“At the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) we are working to sell the bounty of American agriculture. West Africa is a bright spot with a growing middle class that are hungry for our delicious and wholesome agriculture products,” said Deputy Secretary Censky. “Through this trade mission and other efforts, USDA is proud to support President Trump’s Prosper Africa initiative, which is seeking to boost two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. Prosper Africa brings together the full range of U.S. government resources to connect U.S. and African businesses with new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities – a win for the United States and for countries across the African continent.”
Deputy Secretary Censky was joined by Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, officials from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and representatives from the following companies and organizations:
- AFRO Plus Logistics, Bear, Delaware
- American Premier Meat, Connersville, Indiana
- American Soybean Association/World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, St. Louis, Missouri
- Anna Carter’s The Seed Lady, Los Angeles, California
- Archer Daniels Midland Company, Chicago, Illinois
- Berkeley Capital Group, Inc, New York, New York
- Crown Products, Inc, Metairie, Louisiana
- CTB, Inc., Milford, Indiana
- DAUUS Company, Bloomington, Minnesota
- East West International Group, Inc, Moreland, Ohio
- Fobrose Group, Houston, Texas
- Geotan Enterprises, LLC, Humble, Texas
- Ghantex Holdings Limited, Houston, Texas
- Global Export Marketing Co. Ltd., New York, New York
- Green Plains Inc., Omaha, Nebraska
- Growth Energy, Washington, D.C.
- Hills Harvest, College Park, Maryland
- International Feed Corporation, Excelsior, Minnesota
- I.P.P International, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- JBR International Trade Group, Inc., DuPont, Washington
- Livestock Exporters Association of the USA, Chicago, Illinois
- Marquis Energy, Hennepin, Illinois
- Mariani Packing Company, Vacaville, California
- National Swine Registry, West Lafayette, Indiana
- Neil Jones Food Company, Vancouver, Washington
- North Star Food Trading LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Now International, Bloomingdale, Illinois
- Oakmont & Associates, Addison, Texas
- Perdue Foods, Salisbury, Maryland
- Steel City Global Trading, LLC, Enterprise, Alabama
- St. Louis African Chamber of Commerce, St. Louis, Missouri
- Tam Global Consultants, Portland, Oregon
- Tomex Foods, Inc. Lombard, Illinois
- Triad Fisheries Ltd, Portland, Oregon
- U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
- U.S. Grains Council, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Soybean Export Council, Chesterfield, Missouri
- U.S. Wheat Associates, Arlington, Virginia
- United Source One, Belcamp, Maryland
- Virginia Natural Beef Inc., Lexington, Virginia
- Wakava Food and Beverage, LLC, St. Louis, Missouri
- Wygold LLC, Woodland, California
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky
Mr. Censky is the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was sworn-in on October 11, 2017 after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Censky previously served for the past 21 years as CEO of the American Soybean Association, a national, not-for-profit trade association that represents United States soybean farmers on policy and trade. Mr. Censky began his career working as a legislative assistant for Senator Jim Abdnor (R-SD). Later he served in both the Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eventually serving as Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service where he was involved in running our nation’s export programs. Mr. Censky received his B.S. in Agriculture from South Dakota State University and his Postgraduate Diploma in Agriculture Science from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He grew up on a soybean, corn, and diversified livestock farm near Jackson, Minnesota. He and his wife Carmen have two daughters in college.