USCA co-chair addresses Cuba issue |

USCA co-chair addresses Cuba issue

USCA (March 20, 2015) – Returning from a four-day visit to Cuba earlier this month, Jack Alexander, United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Public Lands Committee Co-Chair, joined more than 95 members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) in reiterating a call for Congress to end the U.S. embargo.

“Our visit was an important first step toward a stronger relationship with Cuba,” said Alexander. “Lifting the embargo represents a unique chance to benefit rural citizens for both nations. We appreciate the opportunity for shared dialogue between representatives of U.S. agriculture and the Cuban people.”

USACC leaders across the nation emphasized the need to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba, located only 90 miles south of Florida. This month’s visit demonstrated for U.S. agricultural leaders how a meaningful relationship with the United States could benefit the Cuban people and provide new opportunities to boost Cuba’s agricultural capacity. An end to the embargo also holds potential to provide access to a new market for U.S. producers.

During the visit from March 1-4, representatives of USACC, representing more than a dozen U.S. states, met with officials of the Cuban government and learned about initiatives being undertaken in Cuba to boost food production.

“Opening trade with Cuba makes sense for many reasons. US farmers and ranchers could provide food to Cubans to alleviate shortages in their markets. Cuban farmers and ranchers could provide foods to US markets that we are currently importing from half way around the world, primarily fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Normalizing trade with such a close neighbor would make life better for those growing food and those eating it.”

In a statement following the mission, USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk emphasized the group’s goal of achieving an end to the embargo on Cuba.

“We continue to call for progress on efforts in Congress to end the embargo,” said Vorwerk. “As a result of this week’s learning journey, U.S. agricultural interests are well-positioned to facilitate a strong, two-way relationship when the embargo is lifted.”