National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson applauded the Obama administration on the important steps announced today 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,” he said.

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.

Johnson pointed out that the embargo against Cuba had been going on longer than forty years with little to show for it. “The Obama administration’s announcement will not only help the people of Cuba – who clearly need economic development – but will also open new markets for U.S. family farmers, who are always interested in new trade opportunities,” he said.

Johnson noted that 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.