The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recently announced that eligible landowners interested in Alabama’s Wild Pig Damage Management Program should apply for financial assistance by Jan. 20.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding for 2017 supports the initiative.
Feral swine have been sighted in most of Alabama’s 67 counties and reproduce at an alarming rate. Sows begin breeding at six months of age and produce up to four litters per year with each litter consisting of four to 12 piglets. Wild pig rooting damages native plant communities that provide habitat and food sources for indigenous wildlife species. Additionally, wild hogs degrade water quality and pose a serious disease threat to humans and livestock.
“Although we have a somewhat fair guess of the damage that wild pigs cause to agriculture – about $1.5 billion per year – I suspect their impact to natural ecosystems and the environment likely double or triple that figure,” said Dr. Mark Smith, Auburn University (AU) Extension specialist and associate professor.
Alabama landowners can apply for financial assistance through EQIP to monitor and manage feral swine on their property.