Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa's Blog

The Mexican Cattle Industry and Beef trade
June 21, 2011, 9:22 pm
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The Mexican Cattle Industry and Beef trade

By Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa


The Mexican cattle and beef trade stands as one of the nation’s most historically significant economic drivers. The tradition of cattle ranching in Mexico traces its roots back to colonial days, when land grants by Spanish monarchs provided vast stretches of grazing land for cattle breeds transported to the New World. After the Mexican Revolution, the cattleman contributed to substantial economic benefits as well as such cultural icons as the vaquero. The proximity of Mexico to the United States, especially for important ranching centers such as Nuevo Leon in Mexico and Texas and New Mexico to the north of the border, serves as a means of intertwining the cattle and beef trade of both countries.


For the most part, Mexico’s beef cattle industry thrives in the northern part of Mexico. With breeds first brought to Mexico from Europe, including Hereford and Angus cattle, cattlemen continue to identify breeds that will thrive in Mexico’s semiarid climate. Newer breeds that have gained a foothold in Mexico include Charolais and Brangus. Today, Mexico strives to promote its feedlot industry, using mostly young heifers born on ranches throughout the nation. This fledgling industry delivers beef and cuts of meat similar to those that are popular in the nearby United States in order to meet local demand for this type of product. Young steers, however, are generally exported to the United States.


In southern and central Mexico, where the inland climate is more temperate and the coastal areas may be tropical or semitropical, ranchers produce grass-fed beef that comprise most of the nation’s domestic beef market. While some of these ranching operations are large, a number of subsistence farmers also sell grass-fed beef to market or raise cattle for both dairy and meat purposes.


About the Author: Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa owns a ranch in Nuevo Leon, where he raises Elite Charolaise cattle in addition to horses, chickens, and pigs.


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