The National Corn Growers Association is pleased with the passage of H.R. 4645, The Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, out of the House Agriculture Committee with a favorable recommendation of adoption by the full House of Representatives. The bill passed the Agriculture Committee by a vote of 25-20.

“NCGA appreciates the work of the House Agriculture Committee on the passage of this important piece of legislation,” said Darrin Ihnen, NCGA president. “Increasing one-way trade with Cuba and lifting the travel ban will provide additional markets for corn products and co-products, which will in turn help the American farmer. We are pleased to see the committee adopt this important piece of legislation with a favorable recommendation and we look forward to working with all members of the House of Representatives to ensure passage on the floor.”

During the 2008-2009 market years, Cuba was the United States’ 10th largest export market for corn. H.R. 4645 will allow American farmers to preserve their competitiveness in this growing market through the elimination of the “cash in advance” and “third party banking” provisions.

The passed version of this legislation would also allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. The current travel embargo works against U.S. farmers and ranchers. If the travel ban is lifted, it will allow for exports of value-added corn products such as beef and dried distillers grains to increase significantly.