At last week’s Commodity Classic, the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba called on Congress to remove trade barriers with Cuba. The coalition says by doing so; agriculture could capture sales in the country just 90 miles off the U.S. shores. The U.S. Grains Council says in marketing year 2015, just $4 million of $160 million worth of corn sold to Cuba was sourced from the United States. An estimated $240 million of additional business was lost by U.S. farmers with Cuba’s neighbors as well. Council CEO Tom Sleight said trade can bridge political and financial divides between Cuba and the United States, offering opportunities to redevelop relationships with Cuban leaders and meet South American competition.

Dow Chemical president Tim Hassinger says commodity prices and currency fluctuations will continue to hurt sales to farmers this year. That view echoes the outlooks of Monsanto and DuPont. Hassinger says industry revenue may contract three to five percent in 2016. Meanwhile, with the weaker farm economy, Monsanto is eliminating 16 percent of its workforce and said last week the weaker farm economy may delay the company’s 2019 profit goals.

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