Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association director JR Ramirez today testified before the House Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement and the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence at a hearing titled “The Real Cost of an Open Border: How Americans are Paying the Price.” Ramirez, a fifth-generation rancher in Zapata County, provided a snapshot into the financial challenges facing ranchers along the Southern border and highlighted his own personal experiences.
“Damaged fences and gates, high speed chases, break-ins, stolen vehicles and trespassing are daily occurrences,” Ramirez testified. “Ranchers like me on the front lines are bearing financial burdens that are threatening our ability to operate profitable businesses.”
Ramirez reported more than 30 documented cases of breached fences or gates by a vehicle in the last 12 months with repairs ranging in cost from $1,000 to $10,000 each. This financial burden is amplified when cattle escape into other pastures or neighboring ranches leading to delays in breeding, heightened risk for disease outbreaks and difficulty implementing grazing management plans.
“We consistently deal with droughts, inclement weather, increased input costs and ever-fluctuating cattle prices,” Ramirez said. “Those factors alone make ranching a costly endeavor and challenging livelihood, but when you add in the cost resulting from the current state of our border, it is almost impossible to make a profit.”
Ramirez called on Congress to do better for ranchers, families and citizens paying the price for an unsecure border.