Mexico To Keep U.S. Beef Ban For Now

Mexico will maintain its ban on U.S. beef imports until investigators find and check all the herdmates of a Washington state cow infected with mad cow disease, a top Mexican official told Reuters News Service last week.

Javier Trujillo, the head of the Mexican agriculture ministry's animal health division, told Reuters that Mexico also has no plans to relax border controls until the investigation is complete.

USDA Secretary Ann Veneman told the House Agriculture Commmittee that investigators should be able to locate all the herdmates of the Washington state dairy cow infected with mad cow disease within weeks, not months.

Veneman's comments came as USDA expanded its mad cow investigation into Oregon.

Without a reopening of beef exports, U.S. cattle prices are likely to have a tough time moving any higher. Cattle prices have surged back to $85-87 this week on strong domestic demand, but packers are continuing to hold down slaughter levels due to the loss of export demand.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.