WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Department of Agriculture grants will fund feral hog control and eradication programs in Arkansas, Texas and eight other states.
Arkansas will receive $3.4 million as part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, a joint effort of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, according to a USDA news release. The amount of Texas' grant was unclear at presstime.
The program was established by the 2018 Farm Bill to respond to the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems and human and animal health.
"Feral swine cause significant damage to crop and grazing lands, while also impacting the health of our natural resources," the agency's Arkansas conservationist, Mike Sullivan, said in the release. "By collaborating with our partners nationally and here in Arkansas, our hope is to control and eradicate this invasive species — improving operations for farmers while also protecting our natural resources for the future."
The federal agencies are working with state departments and nongovernmental organizations on pilot projects to reduce the feral swine population, agronomic damage and environmental effects. Proposals were submitted to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in August.
In Texas, the State Soil and Water Conservation Board, the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and the Wildlife Damage Management Association will administer the program. Target areas include the Canadian River watershed, the Leon River watershed and the Upper Red River watershed. Funded measures will include loaning hog traps to farmers, ranchers and landowners.
NRCS and APHIS are working with Arkansas Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Division and several partner organizations on four pilot projects in the stat. Hog control efforts funded by the grant will take place in 17 counties, including six in Southwest Arkansas: Clark, Hempstead, Howard, Nevada, Pike and Sevier.
NRCS is awarding a total of more than $16.7 million. Other feral hog grants were awarded in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Originally published with Texarkana Gazette