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Midwest Farmers Push for End to America's Embargo on Cuba

Over the weekend, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City.  It was the first meeting between leaders of the neighboring nations in more than 50 years.  Midwest farmers and ranchers are hoping for a quick end to the American embargo on selling their products to the communist country. They see Cuba as a huge, untapped market for their goods.  Cuba imports more than $2 billion dollar worth of food from Asia and South America, including tons of rice from Asia. Missouri rice farmer Paul Combs says American farms are much closer to Cuba and can supply higher quality rice at a cheaper price.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill visited Cuba recently. She’s says it’s time for the U.S. to drop the embargo.

The National Chicken Council, American Soybean Association,  the US Cattlemen’s Association and dozens of other agriculture groups throughout the Midwest are pushing for an end to the embargo.


Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest. Global demand for food and fuel is rising, and the push and pull for resources has serious ramifications for our country’s economic prosperity. What’s more, we all eat, so we all have a stake in how our food is produced In the Midwest, in particular, today’s emerging agenda for agriculture is headlined by climate change, food safety, biofuel production, animal welfare, water quality, and sustainability. By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Harvest is filling a critical information void. Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio — regular reports are aired on our member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. We are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read our ethics policy.