from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture
An agreement signed March 10 will enable horsemen from Kentucky and Mexico to share knowledge and resources and set up commercial and technical exchanges to improve both equine industries.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer and José Manuel Alavez, president of the Mexican Association for Equine Development and Promotion, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a public-private equine partnership during a ceremony at the Keeneland Library.
Farmer said equine interests for the two nations will work together on genetics, nutrition, health, breeding, and other aspects of the horse industry.
“The bottom line is that we will be selling more horses to Mexico,” Farmer said. “That is good for the economy of Kentucky. We’re very, very excited about entering into this agreement and look forward to working together for many years to come.”
Keeneland president Nick Nicholson said the partnership will build on the success Kentucky’s horse industry has enjoyed in selling horses to Mexico.
“Over the last few years, we have sold to Mexico a total of about $17-18 million (in horses) already,” Nicholson said. “The average they are buying is increasing each year. And they are having wonderful success. If you follow their classic races in Mexico, more and more you will see horses that were born and raised in Kentucky and that were sold here.”
The agreement calls for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the state Cabinet for Economic Development, and the state’s trade office in Guadalajara, Mexico, to identify equine businesses willing to help improve the Mexican equine industry. The Mexican equine association is to identify individuals and entities in Mexico that are willing to participate in programs conducted under the partnership.
Farmer said he hopes to expand the concept further into Latin America in the future.
Kentucky exports to Mexico totaled about $1.4 billion in 2007, making Mexico the Kentucky’s third-largest trading partner behind Canada and France, according to the United States Department of Commerce. Of that total, about $31 million was in agriculture-related products.
Kentucky producers exported 5,346 horses around the world in 2007, 21% more than in 2006, the state veterinarian’s office reported. Live animal exports from the U.S. to Mexico totaled about $91 million in 2007, of which 25% consisted of horses, jacks, and hinnies.