Illinois Soybean Growers Joins, Supports National Cuba Coalition

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

BLOOMINGTON, ILL., January 8, 2105 – The Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is pleased to join the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), standing up today with more than 30 other prominent U.S. food and agriculture companies and associations and legislators in Washington, D.C.

"I'm proud that ISG has been a leader for Illinois agriculture and for our soybean growers on agriculture interests in Cuba," says ISG Chairman Bill Raben, a soybean grower from Ridgway, Ill. "We're excited to be a charter member of the USACC and provide leadership to this organization. As the nation's top soybean-producing state, our involvement will only strengthen opportunities for our growers and the people who use our products in Cuba."

The USACC seeks to advance trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba by re-establishing Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports. The USACC believes that normalizing trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba will provide the U.S. farm and business community with new market access opportunities, drive enhanced growth in both countries and allow U.S. farmers, ranchers and food companies to efficiently address Cuban citizens' food security needs.

ISG has been working to increase soybean and ag exports to Cuba for several years. Efforts include visiting Cuba and meeting with top officials four times since 2012, along with educating Illinois legislative and business leaders about the economic value of trade with Cuba.

For example, in November 2014, ISG joined the Illinois Cuba Working Group (ICWG) at the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) to grow the trade relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. The goal was to increase trade relations and conduct business that would increase exports of agricultural products and food from Illinois to Cuba.

"We've talked with the Cuban people and we've heard what's important to them," says John Longley, soybean farmer and ISG board member from Aledo, Ill., who visited Cuba in November 2014. "We've seen the need for investment and heard about the interest in trade."

As a founding member of the Illinois Cuba Working Group, ISG believes both the U.S. and Cuba can benefit with an increased exchange of ideas, knowledge, capital and credit.

"As a leading soybean exporting state, Cuba is an important market for Illinois soybean farmers, especially given the soybean, meal and oil export potential," says Duane Dahlman, ISG Marketing Committee chair and soybean farmer from Marengo, Ill. Dahlman attended the USACC public launch today.

Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is a membership organization serving more than 45,000 Illinois soybean growers. ISG provides advocacy in Springfield and Washington, D.C., to promote the interests of soybean farmers, and research, promotion and education programs that enhance soybean production and use. For more information, visit the website

For more information about the USACC, visit