The livestock gate at the Columbus international port of entry was closed recently after the U-S Department of Agriculture restricted its veterinarians from crossing the U-S-Mexico border because of safety concerns.
Before animals are allowed to come into New Mexico, they have to be inspected by a federal veterinarian to ensure they are disease-free.
County Manager Kelly Kuenstler said one solution would be to allow U-S-D-A veterinarians to use an existing gate between the U-S and Mexican sides of the cattle crossing -- an option that limits the travel of U-S-D-A employees to only a couple of hundred feet into Mexico.
Another, more complex solution, involves relocating dipping pens to the U-S side of the border so the veterinarians never have to travel into Mexico.
County budget and procurement director Joanne Hethcox said Luna County loses three-dollars per head of cattle imported from Mexico each time a load of cattle goes elsewhere.
Kuenstler said revenues last fiscal year collected from the Columbus Cattle Crossing were over 163-thousand dollars -- not including fuel tax and gross receipts taxes collected.