American agriculture is poised for substantial growth in the Cuban market but financing restrictions are placing U.S. farmers and ranchers at a serious disadvantage in this nearby market. Dave Salmonsen, AFBF’s trade specialist, explained in Friday’s Newsline, September 16, 2016  that Farm Bureau sees a lot of opportunities for agriculture if trade with Cuba can open up in the future.  

“Cuba imports over two billion dollars’ worth of food and ag products every year for their 11 million people,” Salmonsen said. “Currently, U.S. agriculture sells about $150-160 million a year into those markets,” he added. That’s down from a high of almost $700 million a few years ago.  

AFBF submitted a statement to the House Agriculture Committee last week urging Congress to take a hard look at some of the restrictions related to agricultural trade with Cuba. At a hearing last week, the committee explored those restrictions, particularly agricultural export financing.