5 On Your Side: Illegal dumping in Mercedes affecting rancher’s field and cattle

4 months 1 week 6 days ago Tuesday, July 18 2023 Jul 18, 2023 July 18, 2023 9:45 PM July 18, 2023 in News - 5 On Your Side

A rancher in Mercedes is facing what he says is a growing problem.

Debris from an illegal trash dumping site is ending up in his fields and affecting his cattle and his cotton production, Benton England said.

“Right now, it's nasty,” England said.

Tires, debris, plastic, and even dead animals are littering the shoulders of the road near his fields. 

Around the time cotton gets harvested, that amounts to a very big problem, England said. 

"One piece of plastic that goes into a harvested bale of cotton can absolutely ruin it,” England said, adding that that same debris also threaten to fly into his pasture and affect his cattle herds. 

"It's something different than what they've seen, so they'll just go eat it, and it'll kill them,” England added.

The illegal dump site north of Mercedes is right next to an electric substation, and there are signs one pile went up in flames.

"If you have your substation catch on fire, a lot of people are going to be without electricity," England said.

Roadside trash fires have spread to his pastures in the past and threatened his cattle, England said.

After informing them of the problem, Channel 5 News witnessed crews with Hidalgo County Precinct 1 checking out the area on Tuesday. Precinct 1 spokesperson Pepe Cabeza De Vaca says the precinct continues fighting illegal dumping, and asks the public to report it. 

"I think there's three things we'll all have, “England said. “Death, taxes and trash. Those are one of those things I think we need to be able to take care of for ourselves."

For now, these piles of trash remain. 

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