USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Ben Malone announced that producers interested in Alabama’s Wild Pig Damage Management Program should apply by February 20, 2018. NRCS Alabama will be offering financial assistance to eligible landowners through 2018’s funding under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Feral swine have been sighted in most of the 67 counties in Alabama and can reproduce at an alarming rate. Sows can 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 can damage native plant communities that provide habitat and food sources for native wildlife species. In addition, they degrade water quality and pose a serious disease threat to livestock and humans.
“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, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor at Auburn University.
Alabama landowners will have an opportunity to apply for financial assistance through EQIP to monitor and manage feral swine on their property. Funding will be distributed according to the following guidelines:
- Landowners with 200 or fewer acres will be eligible for a practice payment of $860.16 (one monitoring “scenario”).
- Landowners with 400 t0 599 acres will be eligible for a practice payment of $1720.32. (two monitoring “scenarios)
- Landowners with 600 acres or more will be eligible for a practice payment of $2,580.48 (three monitoring “scenarios”)
- An increased payment rate will be applied for new and beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers and limited resource farmers.
- Cooperation with at least three (3) landowners in close proximity is required whereby each landowner agrees to sign up for the abovementioned NRCS program and work together to remove feral swine on the adjoining properties.
- Landowners must agree to complete damage assessment before and after installation of a given practice. Landowners must also agree to complete photo and pig harvest data sheets and an Auburn University (AU) damage survey.
Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Contact your local NRCS or Farm Service Agency office to begin this process. As with all NRCS programs, applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, selection for funding is completed through our current batching period closing February 20, 2018.