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USDA announces grants for feral swine control
In an effort to address feral swine (Sus scrofa) control and eradication, the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are partnering on a new Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, created by the 2018 Farm Bill.
The program, which will focus on threats that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems and the health of both humans and animals, will direct its efforts in many of the states with the largest feral swine populations and documented levels of damage caused by the species: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The USDA estimates the nationwide population of feral pigs is more than 5 million animals, causing $1.5 billion in damage to agriculture annually, in addition to the damages caused to native wildlife populations and their habitats.
The NRCS is now accepting applications from non-federal partners to provide landowner assistance for on-farm trapping and related services as part of identified pilot projects in targeted areas. Up to $33.75 million of the $75 million allocated for the pilot program will go towards these efforts, with the funding limit for a single grant set at $1.5 million. Partners selected for a grant must provide at least 25 percent of the partnership agreement budget as a match to NRCS funding.
Pilot projects, which will last one to three years, will invole: 1) feral swine removal by APHIS; 2) restoration efforts supported by NRCS; and 3) assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners.
The pilot program builds upon the success of APHIS’ National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, which works to manage and eliminate feral swine populations in partnership with local governments, the private sector, industry and academia. That program was created in 2014 through an appropriation of $20 million by Congress.
More information about the new pilot program is available on the program’s website. NRCS will accept partnership applications until Aug. 19.
Read TWS’ Issue Statement on Feral Swine.