Ag Community Applauds News on Relations with Cuba

Ag Community Applauds News on Relations with Cuba

Earlier this week, the process began to loosen the embargo on trade with Cuba.  The American ag community, as a whole, is applauding the decision, including Larry Wooten, President of North Carolina Farm Bureau:

“I think this is a great thing for the ag community. It’s a market of about 11 million people. Everyone else in the world is trading with them and we should be as well. It’s a real market for our poultry and pork. Rice, wheat, and soybeans as well.”

Something that could see resurgence in the southeast would be the dairy industry.  Currently, milk is rationed in Cuba:

“No question, over ten years ago they were importing milk and dairy from Australia and New Zealand. The market opportunity for US products is huge. There is the credit that will help as well.”

Wooten eluded to it a moment ago…in the final years of the Bush Administration, the effort was made to relax trade with Cuba, but one of the restrictions was that any shipment bound for Cuba had to be paid for before it left the American port.

When tourism from the US to Cuba opens up, Wooten sees that as a positive for the American ag industry also:

“One of the things is they will open tourism and they will need good food. American ag can provide that.”

But, with expanded tourism and trade, USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service will have to be on their toes.  Agriculture of any type hasn’t been managed in any way in over fifty years in the island nation:

“From a plant and health in section stand point we don’t know all that is there with in terms of diseases. So when you open up travel AFIS will have to be very vigilant at our borders to make sure that animals, meats and plants that have the potential to have disease are monitored.”

But, with that said, all in all:

“There is no question it will be a positive for American Ag, and for sure North Carolina ag and its producers.”

President of the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, Larry Wooten.

How do you feel about relaxing trade restrictions with Cuba?  Let us know by answering our poll question on the home page.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.