Farmers Search For Answers to Feral Hog Damage
To combat feral hogs rooting up farm profits, about 50 farmers from 10 counties met with state officials and eradication experts in Eufaula Feb. 21
Barbour County farmer Joe Corcoran said he’s seen wild hogs on about a third of his land.
“The worst damage happened when we planted corn next to the river,” Corcoran said. “Under irrigation, we should have gotten 300 bushels to the acre, but hog damage reduced it to 40 bushels an acre.”
Jager Pro Hog Control Systems Trapping Operations Director Lance Dement updated farmers on several hog eradication methods.
“The No. 1 problem is reproduction,” Dement said. “These are producers. Hogs are sexually mature at six-to-eight months. In one year, a pig can have three litters, and that first litter is getting ready to have its first litter by year’s end.”
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Bill Gray said no permit is required for trapping. However, permits are required for shooting hogs under bait and at night, except during gun deer season when night hunting is prohibited.
Walker Williams with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) said he expects a statewide program similar to one that provided grants for hog control in 16 counties. He encouraged farmers to contact local NRCS offices this summer.
Barbour County Federation President Kenny Childree helped coordinate the event.
“In everyday conversation with farmers, wild hogs always come up,” Childree said. “It’s becoming not only a problem with row crops, but cattle, forestry and all other commodities.”
According to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), annual agricultural damage and control costs related to feral swine in the U.S. amount to $800 million.
Wild hogs are found in 41 states and most counties in Alabama.