In 2014, USDA created a new program in APHIS to manage feral swine and reduce the damage they cause to agriculture, property, natural resources, and human health. USDA presently estimates that feral swine cause upwards of 2.5 billion in damage to agriculture, natural resources, and personal property annually.
The Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) is a program authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition to the existing program, the pilot program specifically targets areas with high feral swine populations, mostly in the southeastern United States. The Farm Bill provides that FSCP be implemented jointly by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Total funding for the program is $75 million for the life of the current Farm Bill and is divided evenly between the APHIS and NRCS.
The activities of FSCP are being conducted in areas where feral swine have been identified as a threat, as determined by the Secretary.
USDA originally identified 20 projects in ten States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas) with the highest feral swine populations for initial pilot projects. In FY21, two more states, Hawaii and Missouri joined the FSCP program adding four more project areas. Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas added an additional 10, bringing the total project areas to 34. APHIS and NRCS State level staff worked together with the State Technical Committees to identify pilot projects broadly defined by a geographic area. Project areas were based on biological factors (e.g., watersheds, resource) to enhance operational control and include natural boundaries or other factors (e.g., project size) that will hinder rapid reinvasion of feral swine from surrounding areas.
APHIS funding is being delivered through operational control efforts implemented directly by the agency personnel. APHIS is working with landowners to implement projects to suppress/eliminate feral swine in areas with high populations inflicting severe damage to agricultural resources. Projects will protect agriculture by reducing damage to crops, pastures, and infrastructure (e.g., fencing, water sources), and reducing risk to livestock (e.g., diseases, predation), along with protecting natural resources, property, and reduce risk to human health and safety (e.g., disease, vehicle collisions).
For more information on Natural Resources Conservation Service’s role in the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program click here.