Bloomberg News

Texas Border Farmland Idled After Violence, Commissioner Says

February 17, 2012

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Farmland sales in Texas near the border with Mexico have slowed because buyers may fear violence from drug traffickers, leaving some fields idle, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said.

The number of National Guard troops along Texas’s 1,241- mile (1,998-kilometer) border with Mexico should be increased to 14 agents per mile, from six currently, Staples said today in an open letter to President Barack Obama. Military equipment returning from Iraq and Afghanistan also should be used to patrol the border, he said.

“With steadily rising agricultural land values across much of the U.S., this fertile soil should be producing crops and contributing to the local economy,” Staples said. “Instead, families that have nurtured the land for generations are tragically forced to start over away from the car chases, armed drug smugglers and cartel violence spilling over from Mexico.”

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Millie Munshi

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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