“Heartbreaking": Zippy Duvall travels to border to see impact of surge on producers

The Farm Bureau president says that what is happening to farmers and ranchers at the border is heartbreaking. He has now seen the impact of this historic immigration surge firsthand.

A Farm Bureau trip to the border ranged from McAllen, Texas, where immigrant families often come seeking asylum in overwhelming numbers, to Del Rio, where there is a higher rate of people trying to cross ranch country to enter the U.S. illegally.

American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall called the situation heartbreaking.

According to Duvall, “Our farmers and ranchers are worried about their safety and their family’s safety and their employees’ safety. They’re worried about the security of their property and the farm machinery, equipment, you know, some of them had their homes looted. They’ve seen their fences torn down numerous, numerous times with great expense to them. They’ve seen water sources tampered with and compromised.”

In areas without a federal border wall, ranchers are responsible for their own fencing and are dealing with growing biosecurity concerns, as diseases can easily cross with immigrants and livestock.

“Trich is still a problem in certain parts of the state. So, if you have any movement of cattle, I mean, it’s an expensive process to clean up your herd if you have trich so that’s one of the other things that you want to be sure that you take care of, and it’s in a lot of places just to run down barbed wire fence that the landowner is responsible for maintaining,” New Mexico Farm Bureau President Craig Ogden states.

Ogden says that better manpower, resources, and tech would help border control.

“They didn’t continue the process to put in the ground sensors which would show any movement on the ground,” he adds. “So, they’re just having to use old technology which is basically drag tires that smooths the ground, and then they’ll see any footprints that go along the ground; so we have the technology, it’s time we used some.”

Official Farm Bureau Policy is to enforce rule of law and secure the border; Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening says that it would help to at least stem the flow of people to give authorities a chance to catch up.

“Let’s stop the flow in right now to figure out how we’re going to do this. If we’re going to grant asylum to asylum seekers that are deserving of it, that qualify for it, and because so many folks are coming and it’s just overwhelming. It’s overwhelming the services,” Boening explains.

The group of Farm Bureau leaders did have a conversation with White House staff about the issue, but so far has not been offered help or a solution from the administration.


Shootout in citrus groves: TX producer’s story on immigrant surge

Texas Ag Commissioner on the crisis at the border

Rep. Gonzales wants Biden administration to solve the crisis at the border

Surge at the border at all-time high, drug traffickers head into rural areas

Surge at the border and protecting U.S. soil

How issues at the border hold local farmers back

The surge at the border and its impact on ag