The New Mexican green chile season is in full swing, but growers and exporters in Mexico are just as busy. Inevitably, this is causing a crunch at the international border.
Agricultural inspectors with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been processing dozens of chile imports daily at the port of entry in Columbus, New Mexico. They're looking for any pests in the shipments that could affect domestic production in New Mexico.
As part of "Operation Hot Chile," acting Columbus Port Director Sam Jimenez said agricultural inspectors are being assigned to Columbus from other locations to help with the increased traffic.
The inspectors will process around 100 chile shipments a day during the busiest part of the season. The Mexican import season is busiest between September and October but can stretch as late as mid-December. Last year, they handled just under 11,000 shipments of red and green peppers from Mexico.