Source: NAWG, NCGA, ASA and AFBF

Several agricultural associations expressed their pleasure with the passage of H.R. 4645, The Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, out of the House Agriculture Committee last week. A favorable recommendation of adoption by the full House of Representatives was attached to the bill that would allow more competitive agricultural exports to Cuba.

The bill passed the Agriculture Committee by a vote of 25-20. Increasing one-way trade with Cuba and lifting the travel ban will provide additional markets to help the American farmer, each association claimed

During the 2008-2009 market years, Cuba was the United States' 10th largest export market for corn. H.R. 4645 will allow American farmers to preserve their competitiveness in this growing market through the elimination of the "cash in advance" and "third party banking" provisions, it was suggested by the National Corn Growers Association.

Cuba is the largest importer of wheat and wheat products in the Caribbean, with 11.4 million mouths to feed and no domestic wheat production. Still, because of U.S.-mandated payment and travel restrictions, American wheat made up less than 25 percent of Cuban wheat imports last year, versus more than 80 percent in other Caribbean nations, the National Association of Wheat Growers explained.

The American Soybean Association has no doubt that removal of restrictions to trade and travel with Cuba would dramatically increase the soybean products sold to Cuba, which totaled more than $144 million in 2009.

 Read overview from Farm Bureau