Over the past several years, Alabama farmers have dealt with crops destroyed by feral hogs.
To help curb the continuing damage, Sen. Tommy Tuberville joined other senators Tuesday in introducing the Feral Swine Eradication Act. The bipartisan legislation would make permanent a pilot program that safeguards public health, agriculture, and local ecosystems against feral swine.
“Feral swine are a serious threat to the livelihoods of Alabama’s farmers. Feral hogs destroy crops, land, and undo months, if not years, of work by our farmers to feed our country,” said Tuberville (R-Auburn). “Over the past five years, feral swine have impacted more than 173,000 acres in Alabama. Yet, the pigs are still running rampant throughout the South.
“And so today, I’m standing with Alabama farmers and taking action to fight back against this threat.”
Jimmy Parnell, president and CEO of the Alabama Farmers Federation, said his organization is strongly behind the legislation.
“Feral swine continue to be a plague on farms all over Alabama, causing both economic and ecological damage,” Parnell said. “We appreciate Coach Tuberville’s efforts to make permanent a pilot program that has yielded good results in Alabama and other states.
“While progress has been made there is still work to be done, and this bill will allow USDA to continue and expand upon the work done thus far.”
There are approximately six million feral hogs across the United States, which cause more than $1.5 billion in damages each year.
U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-Minn.) are also original cosponsors of the bill.
The Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program was established in the 2018 Farm Bill to respond to rampant feral swine outbreaks and was implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service.
This program included feral swine removal by APHIS, restoration efforts supported by NRCS, and assistance to producers for feral swine control through grants with non-federal partners. NRCS and APHIS carried out these pilot projects in 10 states.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.
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