The importation of Mexican feeder cattle is a tradition, a way of life and important to the border economy in Mexico and the U.S. The Mexican cattle producer is dependent on the U.S. cattle market, while U.S. feeders and packers need the Mexican feeder cattle for their operations.
However, due to the increased border violence in northern Mexico, we were not able to allow USDA personnel to travel into Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo and Pierdas Negras to inspect and dip Mexican cattle destined for export to the U.S.
USDA has established temporary pens on the U.S. side in Pharr, Laredo and Eagle Pass, Texas. The temporary pens have proven to be very functional and have been used to maintain this important U.S./Mexico trade.
On a recent trip to South Texas, I was able to acknowledge and personally thank USDA employees at the pens for their efforts. They took a challenge and created an opportunity to maintain the important cattle trade, address animal health and still provide safety for U.S. personnel. Dr. Hugo Fragoso, Mexican Chief Veterinary Officer, and his staff accompanied my staff and me in thanking our USDA employees at a ceremony held at the Amistad pens in Eagle Pass.