Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) this week recognizes the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s historic move to normalize trade relations with Cuba, which occurred Dec. 17, 2014.
Since that announcement, ISG representatives have visited Cuba twice. ISG continues to be a leading member of both the Illinois Cuba Working Group (ICWG) and the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC).
“We continue to remain heavily engaged to open up the Cuban market for our Illinois soybean farmers,” says ISG Chairman Daryl Cates, a Columbia, Ill., soybean farmer. “During the past year, we have seen tremendous progress. President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro held the first formal bilateral meeting in more than 50 years, Cuba was removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list and the American flag was raised over an embassy in Cuba.”
Also, in the past 12 months, ISG:
– Was a founding member of the USACC, which was formally launched Jan. 8, 2015.
– Helped lead the USACC Learning Journey to Cuba in March 2015.
– Organized and held an ICWG leadership event in Chicago in March 2015.
– Helped organize a meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin about Cuba held at Illinois State University in August 2015.
– Hosted Ruben Ramos, Cuba’s Commercial Attaché at Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., in September 2015.
– Led, with the ICWG, a bi-partisan mission to Cuba in October 2015, which included Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. Rodney Davis and Illinois business leaders.
Looking ahead, ISG continues to push for an end to the embargo with Cuba and other legislation that will open up trade and opportunities for Illinois soybean farmers and Illinois agribusiness.
“We have a number of key bills that would benefit soybean growers,” says Mike Levin, ISG director of issues management and analysis.
ISG plans to visit Cuba in March 2016, which will be the seventh visit since March 2012. For additional information about exports to Cuba, visit www.fas.usda.gov/data/us-agricultural-exports-cuba-have-substantial-room-growth.
Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is a membership organization serving more than 43,000 Illinois soybean growers. ISG provides advocacy in Springfield and Washington, D.C., to promote the interests of Illinois soybean farmers and programs that enhance soybean production and demand. Voice for Soy, the online action center supported by ISG, allows growers to easily connect with legislators and regulators to advocate for Illinois agriculture. For more information about ISG, visit the website www.ilsoygrowers.com.
For more information, contact: