The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Nove. 20, it is awarding more than $1.4 million to fund three pilot projects to control feral swine in Texas.
These projects are part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) – a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems and human and animal health.
“Feral swine cause significant damage to crops and grazing lands, while also impacting the health of our natural resources,” said acting NRCS State Conservationist Darren Richardson. “By collaborating with our partners nationally and here in Texas, our hope is to control and eradicate this invasive species – improving operations for farmers while also protecting our natural resources for the future.”
NRCS and APHIS are working with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) on pilot projects in Texas to help address feral hog damage on crop and rangeland, as well as water quality impairment in Potter, Hartley and Oldham Counties in the Canadian River Watershed, in Eastland, Erath and Comanche Counties in the Upper Leon River Watershed and Hardeman, Wilbarger, Wichita and Clay Counties in the Upper Red River Watershed. Landowners in these identified counties may be eligible for assistance from trapping technicians to trap feral swine on their property. Interested landowners should visit their local NRCS office.
NRCS, APHIS and the Texas State Technical Agriculture Committee worked together to define the critical areas to be considered for projects within the state. The Texas pilot project runs from 2-3 years in duration. As the lead project partner, TSSWCB will be conducting outreach and education workshops and demonstrations in each county in the project areas. Due to the new nature of the pilot program, it will be crucial to collect, monitor, and evaluate data regarding feral swine populations, agricultural damage, and environmental concerns. Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute will assist with monitoring and data collection
NRCS is awarding more than $16.7 million this year for feral swine pilot projects in select areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The funding limit for a single award is $1.5 million. Awardees are required to provide at least 25 percent of the partnership agreement budget as a match to NRCS funding. APHIS is providing $23.3 million this year to the Wildlife Services programs located in the pilot projects states.
The 2018 Farm Bill provides $75 million for the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. These funds are for the life of the farm bill and divided evenly between NRCS and APHIS.
Additional information on NRCS’ feral swine control work can be found at http://nrcs.usda.gov/fscp.
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