“This year, regardless of what kind of weather Mexico has, speculation among growers is that the drug violence will keep Mexican onions from competing with our onions again this season,” Anciso said.

There’s no way to determine how much seed was bought and planted in Mexico this fall, but the violence will have an impact this year that wasn’t there last year, he said.

“It’s getting difficult to farm there and even harder to find trucks to ship the produce up here.”

While the North American Free Trade Agreement pushed farmers south into Mexico during the 1990s, the violence is now pushing growers back to the U.S., Anciso said.

“I’ve had Mexican growers come to my office to talk to me about buying farmland here in South Texas,” he said. “Just recently, one grower was looking for 10,000 acres, another wanted 3,000 and another was looking for 1,000.”

Anciso said that due to urbanization, prospective buyers are not likely to find large tracts of farmland in one location.

“Of course, I send them to real estate agents, but if they buy large tracts of land, it will likely be piecemeal, not all together in one tract,” he said.

The growers looking to move north from Mexico are sorghum growers who will likely stick to growing what they know, but could branch out to other crops, “depending on the market forces,” he said.

“Nobody could have predicted all this craziness in Mexico,” Anciso said. “But it’s indicative of the volatile global economy we’re in now. Markets of any commodity, not just agriculture, can quickly move up or down.”

Most of the onions planted in South Texas are of the sweet variety and are doing well, as are other winter vegetables, including cabbage, leafy greens, carrots and others, Anciso said.

“All our winter vegetables were planted on time; stands came up well and overall are doing very well.”