Trade with Cuba good news for SD purebred livestock producers

Farm Forum

South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, says trade with Cuba provides new opportunities to South Dakota’s purebred livestock producers.

“Cuban livestock producers will be eager to access the quality genetics South Dakota cattle, sheep and hog seedstock producers have to sell,” explained Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer.

Sombke stands with National Farmers Union (NFU) President, Roger Johnson, in applauding the Obama administration on the important steps announced Dec. 17, 2014, to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

“NFU has worked hard over the last five years to push for a normalization of relations with Cuba,” said Johnson. “Acknowledging that Cuba is one of our closest neighbors and a potentially valuable trading partner, and allowing the relationships between the two nations and its citizens to renew and blossom is good for both nations.”

The administration’s announcement noted that decades of isolation have failed to accomplish the U.S. goals of promoting a democratic and prosperous Cuba. Under the agreement announced today, the U.S. Commerce Department will ease the financial regulations on U.S. agricultural sales to Cuba as part of a normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations.

“The embargo against Cuba had been going on longer than 40 years with little to show for it,” Sombke said. “It’s time to make changes that will not only help the people of Cuba, but will also open new markets for family farmers here in South Dakota and across the United States, who are always interested in new trade opportunities.”

Over the last five years, NFU has sent at least 20 letters addressing normalized travel and trade with Cuba. “The Cuban embargo has made no sense for a long time,” said Johnson.