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As the United States works to improve relations with Cuba, Arkansas lawmakers are working to seize the opportunity to improve the state's agricultural economy. Here are stories related to where Arkansas, especially Eastern Arkansas, fits into to this historic national move.

Crawford Discusses Cuba Trip & Embargo on Talk Business & Politics

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

  U. S. Representative Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) has returned from his “fact-finding” mission to Cuba for his agricultural trade bill.  He shared his experience with Talk Business and Politics on their TV show over the weekend.  He said he was “pleasantly surprised” about his visit.

"Everywhere you look, you see really that this is a culture on the cusp of some really major social change, political change, economic and cultural change that I think bodes well for them and certainly for us  as we're trying to normalize a relationship with them starting with agriculture," Crawford said.   "That's kind of the jist of my bill."

Crawford’s bill, known as the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, is designed to make it easier for Cuba to purchase agricultural products, such as rice and chicken, from Arkansas and end export restrictions. 

Arkansas leads the nation in the amount of rice grown and is the 2nd largest poultry producer in the nation—two staples of Cuban cuisine.

The Engage Cuba Coalition made a comment about how Congress is handling the embargo.  President James Williams said Congress could end the embargo quickly if “they got off of their butts.” 

Congressman Crawford addressed Williams comments and explained that ending the embargo is not as easy as it seems.

 You can watch the full segment on the Talk Business and Politics website here.

A Northeast Arkansas native from Wynne, I’ve been involved with radio for about 15 years. I got my Bachelor of Arts degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, where I also served as an award-winning News Director for 2 years at KSWH-LP.