Throughout my life I have viewed Cuba as a piece of history, a far off distant land. Today, the country is being discussed in every agricultural circle I come across. The possibilities of future trade with our neighbor creates great opportunities for American farmers and ranchers.
The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing earlier this week exploring the benefits of American agricultural trade with Cuba. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has long supported opening trade with this market and said American agriculture is poised for substantial growth in the Cuban market but financing restrictions are placing U.S. farmers and ranchers at a disadvantage.
“Real opportunities exist for increased sales of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba as growing demand is driven by 11 million Cubans and by increasing tourism,” AFBF wrote. Yet, the U.S. has fallen from being the number one supplier of agricultural products to number five due to restrictions imposed on financing those sales.
“U.S. agriculture is at a global disadvantage as we watch foreign competitors continue to take away our market share,” AFBF said. “There is no better time than now to provide American farmers and agribusinesses the tools they need to expand agricultural exports to Cuba and help our industry survive this difficult economic environment.”
In just a few days I will embark on a journey to visit this nearby market and witness it’s potential first hand. The American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) is hosting an ag media delegation and I am honored to be part of those who will be able to bring back a bit of Cuban agriculture to you. A special thank you goes to Alltech for helping make this trip possible for me. I will have little internet while abroad, but will hopefully be able to share a few photos along the way. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram – @JamieDJohansen. But once home, you can find audio and photos here.