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Farm Bill dedicates money to feral swine depopulation efforts

Source: Wikimedia Commons

African Swine Fever (ASF) has wreaked havoc across the globe for nearly a year, causing distress for U.S. pork producers. While pork imports continue to be blocked from U.S. coasts, southern operators find equal to greater concern in the feral swine population.

Current health and trade consultant for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Bobby Acord shed light on the feral swine population as it relates to ASF.

“This has been a problem that has been going on for years and it’s been exacerbated by a number of states that have moved feral swine into the state for hunting opportunity and opportunity for them to sell another hunting license. This population has become very well established and continues to grow… Given the nature of African Swine Fever, we certainly see feral swine as being a multiplier of that disease in the U.S.” 

NPPC’s June report reveals nearly five-million feral swine contained across 39 states.  Between virus control and other damages, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates $1.5 billion is allotted to losses resulting from feral swine.

In an effort to gain the upper hand, the USDA revised the nearly 20-year-old Feral Swine Eradication Control Pilot Program (FSCP). FSCP alterations now allow affected states a portion of the $75 million granted by the USDA, under the 2018 farm bill.

According to the NRCS, need within each state is assigned by the State Technical Committee (STC). Following the assessments, money will be granted and dispersed for use by non-federal entities within a one- to three-year window.

Acord expressed his prediction on how long it will take for the operation to be fully successful.

“These animals are very adaptable animals; they’re hard to kill. I don’t know that we’ll ever eliminate the [feral swine] population. Hopefully, in the predominant swine producing states, they will be able to get them down to where they don’t pose a threat to the swine producing industry.”

Landowners seeking to be granted a sum of the FSCP funds must apply for assistance by 5 p.m. Eastern time on August 19, 2019. For more information, visit nrcs.usda.gov.