The Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Soybean Growers issued this joint statement following President Trump’s announcement today that limits trade and travel opportunities with Cuba.
Our farmer members are discouraged to hear that President Trump has decided to roll back the advancements we have made in agricultural trade opportunities with Cuba.
We want the freedom to sell food to the people who need and use it. Having this opportunity supports our belief that the development of the Cuban economy is as beneficial to Illinois farmers as it is to Cuba. Cuba is just 90 miles off the U.S. coast. Illinois farmers value agricultural sales with Cuba. It’s an important market for Illinois commodities and the livestock who consume our Illinois-grown products.
Meantime, our farmers are facing a continuing struggle with commodity prices and farm profitability. Market-based opportunities to improve our balance sheets are preferred to government payments, and export market access is one way to make that happen. We support legislation, such as H.R. 525, which allows for private-sector financing of agricultural products exported to Cuba, allows for the promotion of U.S agricultural products in Cuba, and provides U.S. companies with the ability to develop agricultural businesses in Cuba.
For all these reasons, we would encourage President Trump to consider a different approach regarding agricultural trade with Cuba. We remain supportive of the Illinois Cuba Working Group’s efforts and thankful of the Illinois General Assembly’s unanimous support of securing trade opportunities with Cuba.
Illinois Beef Association President
Illinois Corn Growers Association President
Illinois Pork Producers Association President
Illinois Soybean Growers President
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