WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. and Mexican officials have come to agreement upon the re-opening of the Mexican market for a significant portion of U.S. beef exports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 4 that Secretary Javier Usabiaga of Mexico reopened the border.

Mexico is the second largest export market for U.S. beef and beef products. Boneless beef covered in the agreement makes up a significant portion of all exports to Mexico.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) was working with officials on opening the border and is continuing to work with industry and government officials to assure that the beef export market is reopened as soon as possible.

On another front, NCBA president and vice president, as well as two cattle producers recently testified on the subject of Animal Identification before the Senate Agriculture Committee's subcommittee on Marketing, Inspection, and Product Promotion and the House Agriculture Committee.

In their testimony, the NCBA is voicing support of the proposed United States Animal Identification Plan (USAIP) as the framework for establishing an effective livestock tracking system. The organization believes flexibility is a key component in an effective national animal identification system, and on-going discussion and input from all parties within animal agriculture is essential.

Animal identification is a confusing and complicated topic which has endured several years of debate to come to a consensus, with much work still ahead. The USAIP represents two years of efforts to develop the framework for a national animal identification system that would aid in the identification and tracking of livestock for animal health and related purposes. More than 400 animal and livestock industry professionals, representing more than 70 associations, organizations and government agencies, have worked to develop the plan with the goal of tracking an animal or group of animals (back and forward) within 48 hours of an animal health incident.

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