Returning from a four-day visit to Cuba earlier this month, Jack Alexander, United States Cattlemen's Association Public Lands Committee Co-Chair, joined more than 95 members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba 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," Alexander said. "Lifting the embargo represents a unique chance to benefit rural citizens for both nations."
USACC leaders emphasized an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The group said trade would 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, the group says.
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.
USCA said opening trade with Cuba makes sense because U.S. farmers and ranchers could provide food to Cubans to alleviate shortages in their markets.
Cuban farmers and ranchers, in turn, could provide foods to U.S. markets that we are currently importing from half way around the world, primarily fruits, vegetables, and seafood, USCA said.
In a statement following the mission, USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk emphasized the USACC'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."