For the first time in more than four years, U.S. beef cattle crossed into Mexico this week. Wednesday, 37 Angus bulls entered Mexico at the border crossing at Santa Teresa, NM, with around 80 more scheduled to cross today.

“This is the first day that any beef bulls are going to cross into Mexico since December 2003, when a BSE case popped up in the U.S. This is an important day for the cattle industry,” said Jay Whetten, vice president of the cattlemen’s association of Chihuahua, Mexico.

The opportunity to export U.S. breeding cattle to Mexico arose in March when Texas Ag Commissioner Todd Staples refused to allow exports of Canadian cattle through Texas border crossings. The action came after Mexico signed an agreement with Canada that allowed for a more lucrative trade for Canadian cattle than was allowed for U.S. cattle. On March 28, Mexico and the U.S. announced an agreement consistent with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines to allow export of U.S. cattle to Mexico.

“What we’re interested in more than anything else is getting the gate open and getting the door open,” said Whetten. U.S. cattlemen estimate that Chihuahua needs about 5,000 breeding bulls.
-- Burt Rutherford