FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 8, 2015
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (Jan. 8, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) today joined other prominent members of the U.S. food and agriculture community in the launch of the new U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a group aiming to re-establish normalized trade relations with Cuba.
“NFU is proud to join the efforts of USACC in its support of advanced agricultural trade to Cuba,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The coalition will provide leading U.S. agriculture organizations a collective voice in creation of a sustained and viable market for U.S. agricultural products in Cuba.”
Johnson noted that in his prior role as North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner, he made eight trade missions to Cuba selling agricultural products such as wheat, dried peas, lentils, garbanzo beans and flour. He also described NFU’s hard work over the past five years to push for normalization of relations with Cuba, sending at least 20 letters to government officials and legislators addressing normalized travel and trade between both nations, and emphasizing that the time has come to end the embargo.
“Normalizing trade between the U.S. and Cuba has been a major push for NFU for many years,” said Johnson. “Lifting the failed trade embargo and easing financial regulations are steps that need to be taken in order to provide new markets for U.S. agriculture products. NFU is excited to be able to work with the USACC and promote normalized U.S.-Cuban relations on behalf of American family farmers.”
Johnson also noted that for far too long, U.S. trade policy has been dominated by those who think trade can be used as a weapon to force other nations into changing their behavior. “It was this mindset that brought us the failed Cuban trade embargo in the first place, something NFU has opposed for years. Thankfully, the Obama administration has taken the first step, and now it is time to fully lift the embargo,” he added.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.