Mexico will resume trade in some U.S. dairy heifers, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced Wednesday. Under the agreement, U.S. producers can export dairy heifers under 24 months of age that are registered with a purebred dairy breed association or the Dairy Herd Improvement Association.
Shipments to Mexico can begin immediately.
"I am pleased with this first step in reestablishing cattle trade with Mexico, but I remain committed to a broader resumption of cattle trade between our countries," says Johanns.
Mexico closed its market to all U.S. dairy heifers after the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Washington State in December 2003. In March 2004, Mexico opened its market to boneless U.S. beef from animals under 30 months, and it allowed U.S. bone-in beef from the same age group in February 2006.
Before the BSE discovery, the U.S. exported $103 million worth of dairy heifers to Mexico in 2003.
Dairy heifers entering Mexico from the U.S. will be individually identified for the Mexican animal identification system to keep the animals under BSE surveillance.