Lawmakers and Commodity Groups on the Agricultural Export Expansion Act

"We’ve heard loud and clear that American farmers and ranchers want the opportunity to compete and sell their product around the world, including in the Cuban market. Despite our progress in the 2018 Farm Bill, existing trade restrictions with Cuba continue to put our farmers and ranchers at a disadvantage. This common-sense bill would unlock new market opportunities for Colorado farmers and ranchers who have a tremendous amount to gain from competing in the Cuban market." - Senator Bennet

“Arkansas farmers need new markets and one solution is sitting less than one hundred miles off our coast. Cuba imports 80 percent of its food, but Americans start out at a disadvantage since private financing is not allowed. Our bill removes this barrier, allowing our agricultural producers to compete, while simultaneously exposing Cubans to American ideals, values and products. It’s a small step, but one that can yield big dividends for American farmers and the Cuban people." - Senator Boozman

“Our agriculture industry is an integral part of our economy and continues to be the driver of countless rural communities in Maine and across our country,” said Senators Collins and King. “This bill would support the agriculture industry by leveling the playing field for American farmers to open up a significant new export opportunity, without costing the government any money or risking any taxpayer dollars.”

“This bipartisan legislation, which would allow for the private financing of ag exports to Cuba, represents an important step forward in our work to open Cuban markets for Kansas farmers and ranchers,” said Senator Moran. “With low commodity prices and an ongoing trade war, our producers can only benefit from increased market access.”

“Colorado Farm Bureau continues to support the removal of the restrictions on the credit financing of agricultural products for sale in Cuba.” - Don Shawcroft, President of Colorado Farm Bureau

“The Colorado Association of Wheat Growers supports this bill because it would remove the only real barrier we have to selling our wheat to Cuba. Cuba is a natural market for our high quality Hard Red Winter wheat that already gets exported out of the gulf and travels right by them on the way to other, far-flung countries. I travelled to Cuba in 2017, and sat down with their main government wheat buyers. It was obvious when talking to them that they will buy the kind of wheat we can grow in Colorado, at the prices we need to charge. The only thing holding them back was the financing.” - Brad Erker, Executive Director of Colorado Wheat

“At only 90 miles from the southernmost point of the United States, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) has long believed Cuba should also be a natural export nation for our food and fiber products. To develop a new market requires investment and incentives in building long-term and healthy relationships. As a general farm organization, RMFU sees excellent potential in developing trade with Cuba. We believe the Trade Sanctions and Reform Act of 2000 and the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program in the 2018 Farm Bill are tools that create a win-win situation if the Agriculture Export Expansion Act of 2019 becomes law. Together, these policies will create a flow of western and American agricultural products that will benefit both countries and lift the ban on U.S. private banks and companies from offering credit for the export of agricultural commodities to Cuba.” - Dr. Dale McCall, President of RMFU

“The reintroduction of this legislation is welcomed with much excitement and appreciation from Arkansas rice farmers. Among a challenging planting season and highly uncertain market climate, this financing option could be the determining factor in conducting trade with Cuba at a crucial time for Arkansas agriculture. Senator Boozman has once again demonstrated his leadership through his persistence on this issue." - Jeff Rutledge, Chairman of the Arkansas Rice Federation

“We very much support the effort to unlock the Cuba market. We feel trade with Cuba is a great way to help our farmers find new markets and for our country to spread democracy and capitalism into areas in need of great change. Arkansas farmers are beyond ready to play a key role in this effort." - Andrew Grobmyer, Executive Vice President of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas

“There are great opportunities for Arkansas agriculture to expand our markets, and also to go a long way toward improving the quality of life for the people of Cuba. If trade restrictions were removed, it is probable that the U.S. will immediately capture most of Cuba's $1 billion in annual agricultural imports. Arkansas, in fact, would benefit more than any other state, with more than $160 million in projected sales, primarily rice and poultry products but also beef and other commodities that are grown and raised in Arkansas." - Randy Veach, President of the Arkansas Farm Bureau