U.S. Rep. Ron Barber (D-Arizona), who has strongly pushed for inspections in Mexico of U.S.-bound cattle to resume, today announced that he has been assured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it will resume inspections on May 19 south of Agua Prieta, Mexico.

“I’m glad the inspections will restart next week, which is important to many ranchers and other businesses in Southern Arizona,” Barber said today. “The halt of these inspections has had a serious negative impact on the economies of Douglas and other parts of Southern Arizona.”

Barber was told today that Veterinary Services personnel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will resume inspecting cattle in one week. The announcement came from Dr. Joyce Bowling-Heyward, national director of animal imports and exports of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA.

The inspections in Mexico were halted in January because of drug-related violence.

Last month, Barber spoke with officials at every level of USDA and wrote letters calling on USDA officials to explain their decisions to halt the inspections in Agua Prieta. Barber told the USDA he would personally escort U.S. inspectors into Mexico to demonstrate that the area is safe.

Barber’s work on the issue recently was praised by Douglas Mayor Danny Ortega Jr., who said, “It is through his hard work we were able to get this far.”

Three weeks ago, Barber said he had been given tentative notice from USDA that it would resume inspections in mid-May if the safety of inspectors could be assured and other steps were taken.

Yesterday, Barber was told that has been accomplished and the inspections are set to start May 19.

Importers and exporters of cattle or other animals should contact the Douglas Veterinary Services port staff at 520-364-5681 to make inspection appointments.