St. Charles farmer joins Sen. Klobuchar at Senate hearing on Cuban exports

Posted by HBC Newsdesk April 23, 2015

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was joined by a St. Charles farmer at a Senate hearing on increasing agriculture exports to Cuba. At the hearing, Klobuchar pushed her bipartisan bill to lift the trade embargo and discussed the steps we can take to ensure our farmers and ranchers benefit from modernizing our relationship with Cuba. Klobuchar introduced Ralph Kaehler, whose family has been farming in St. Charles for nearly 130 years. Kaehler voiced support for Klobuchar’s legislation and highlighted how normalized relations between our two countries present opportunities for farmers.

“For too long, export and travel restrictions have prevented American farmers and ranchers from seeking opportunities in Cuba,” Klobuchar said. “That is why I have introduced bipartisan legislation to lift the trade embargo on Cuba, and this hearing allowed us to focus on how we can ensure that our farmers and ranchers benefit from normalized relations between our two countries. I was very pleased to have Mr. Kaehler there to provide a first-hand perspective on how modernizing our country’s relationship with Cuba will help support farmers in Minnesota and across the country.”

“I hope that Congress will expand the universe of people involved in U.S.-Cuba trade by allowing a greater variety of goods and services to be traded,” Kaehler said. “I don’t know much about politics, but I have spent a lot of time in Cuba and have built strong relationships with farmers and their families. […] I can only imagine that having more interactions like these—farmer to farmer—will help build a better understanding between our two countries and improve quality of life on both sides.”

Klobuchar recently traveled to Cuba to meet with agriculture and export officials to identify ways to open up new economic opportunities for businesses and farmers in the United States. Klobuchar has introduced the bipartisan Freedom to Export to Cuba Act to lift the current embargo, which will allow more U.S. goods to be exported to Cuba. The bill would eliminate the legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba, boosting job creation and exports. It does not repeal provisions of current law that address human rights in Cuba or that allow individuals and businesses to pursue claims against the Cuban government. Klobuchar is also a cosponsor of bipartisan legislation to lift the Cuba travel ban.

Kaehler was a panelist at a Cuba summit Klobuchar hosted in St. Paul earlier this spring to talk about the benefits of normalizing trade relations with Cuba. He operates a fifth-generation livestock, row crop, and canning vegetable farm in St. Charles, MN with his wife and two sons. His farm exported the first livestock to Cuba since the enactment of the embargo in 2002 after legislation eased restrictions on the export of agricultural goods. Since then his family has led over ten trade delegations to Cuba, which have included producers from seven states and a bipartisan mix of state lawmakers and officials.

Comments are closed.

Connect with us

Featured Video

Catch the latest from HBC TV 25 Today

Latest Tweets