USDA Tuesday announced the launch of a $20 million national effort to reduce damage caused by feral swine. Invasive wild swine cause $1.5 billion in annual damage and control costs.
"Feral swine are one of the most destructive invaders a state can have," said Undersecretary for USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos. "They have expanded their range from 17 to 39 states in the last 30 years and cause damage to crops, kill young livestock, destroy property, harm natural resources, and carry diseases that threaten other animals as well as people and water supplies.
"It's critical that we act now to begin appropriate management of this costly problem," he said.
The Wildlife Services program of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will lead the effort, tailoring activities to each state's circumstance and working closely with other Federal, State, Tribal, and local entities.
According to USDA, WS will work directly with states to control populations, test animals for diseases, and research better methods of managing feral swine damage. A key part of the national program will include surveillance and disease monitoring to protect the health of our domestic swine.
A growing issue
Feral swine have become a serious problem in 78% of all states in the country, carrying diseases that can affect people, domestic animals, livestock and wildlife, as well as local water supplies. They also cause damage to field and high-value crops of all kinds from Midwestern corn and soybeans to sugar cane, peanuts, spinach and pumpkins.
Feral swine often kill young animals and their characteristic rooting and wallowing damages natural resources, including resources used by native waterfowl, as well as archeological and recreational lands.