South of the border avocado growers are taking matters into their own hands to protect their crop.
Small-scale avocado growers, armed with A-R-15's now take turns manning a checkpoint.
They're guarding against thieves and drug cartels in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
That's the heartland for world production of avocados.
The region's avocado boom, fuelled by soaring U-S demand, has drawn parts of western Mexico out of poverty in just ten years.
But it has also drawn gangs and hyper-violent cartels that have hung bodies from bridges.
While Mexican avocado growers have for years lived in fear of assaults and shakedowns, the situation went international in mid-August when a U-S-D-A team of inspectors was "directly threatened" in a nearby town.
The U-S-D-A...responding with a letter threatening to suspend its work if there were further incidents.
Such a move could block shipments and devastate the industry and the area.
It's estimated Mexico supplies about 43-percent of all world avocado exports.
- Clinton Griffiths, Editor, Farm Journal Magazine, News Anchor of AgDay