TEMPLE—The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced it is awarding approximately $1.5 million to the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) to fund three additional pilot projects to control feral swine in Texas.
These projects are a part of the Feral Swine Control Pilot Program (FSCPP), which is a joint effort between USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to help address issues that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems as well as human and animal health.
Feral swine cause a high level of economic, biologic and natural resource damage. The species are also a threat to Texas waterways and ecosystems as the population of the feral swine rapidly increase. Texas is a private-land state, with 83% of its land mass in family-owned farms, ranches and forests. Consequently, providing learning opportunities to landowners about effective management strategies remains crucial to the success of abating damages associated with feral swine.
TSSWCB will work in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), Texas A&M Natural resources Institute (NRI), the Texas Wildlife Damage Management Association (TWDMA) and Texas Farm Bureau to administer the FSCPP.
Landowners in the project areas may be eligible for assistance from technicians to trap feral swine on their property. Pilot projects consist of three fundamental elements, the removal of feral swine by APHIS, restoration efforts supported by NRCS and assistance to producers for feral swine control.
The FSCPP will consist of a smart trap loan program, educational and outreach activities, as well as hiring trapping technicians to assist landowners.
This round of funding will focus on three additional project areas in the following counties: Dallam, Nueces, San Patricio, Bee, Williamson and Milam.
“TSSWCB is proud to be a part of this effort to control feral swine in Texas alongside our partners in conservation. We are excited to expand the project efforts to new areas in the state covering over 3 million acres to protect agriculture and Texas’ natural resources,” said Liza Parker, Project Coordinator.
Through the first and second rounds of funding, there will be a total of 34 active projects across 12 states for the life of the 2018 Farm Bill. Projects are planned to conclude at the end of September 2023.
The first round of funding covered the Canadian River Watershed, Upper Leon River Watershed and the Upper Red River Watershed that encompass Hartley, Oldham, Potter, Eastland, Comanche, Erath, Hardeman, Wilbarger, Wichita, and Clay Counties in Texas.