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This feral hog was photographed in Delaware County in February 2015.

USDA funding addresses feral swine populations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it was offering $75 million in funding — as part of the 2018 Farm Bill — for the eradication and control of feral swine through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. The pilot program is a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

“We thank USDA for implementing this important Farm Bill program to reduce feral swine populations. Wild pigs are difficult to control and when in close proximity to domestic production, they are almost impossible to control,” said David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina.

“Most seriously, we are concerned about the spread of feral swine carrying diseases, including African swine fever (ASF), an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks. While outbreaks of ASF continue throughout China and other parts of Asia, there are no reported cases in the United States. With no vaccination available, prevention is our only defense and that’s why this program is so vitally important.”

This pilot program was one of NPPC’s main priorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. According to USDA, there are an estimated five million feral swine in at least 39 states; the cost of controlling them and the amount of damage they do is about $1.5 billion annually.

NPPC continues to advocate for implementation of other Farm Bill provisions, including carrying out Congress’ intent to acquire sufficient amounts of Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccines.

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