Farm leaders and farm state lawmakers last week cheered the Obama administration’s increased focus on boosting international trade and its push for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which could help pave the way for multi-national trade deals with countries in Asia, South America and Europe.

In addition, farm groups welcomed President Barack Obama’s moves to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba, which could open additional markets for corn, soybeans and other agricultural products.

The president asked Congress to pass TPA and support normalized relations with Cuba during his State of the Union address to Congress on Jan. 20.

"We wholeheartedly support providing the president with Trade Promotion Authority," said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president.

"With our rising productivity, trade is more important today to our farmers than it has ever been, and we need ...