The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently in the final stages of surveying livestock producers to garner insight into the impact of feral hog damage to their operations. Travis Averill with USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service said the survey was mailed on July 19 to 18,000 producers in 13 states, where the largest feral hog populations are found. Among other things, producers are being asked to estimate damages from feral hogs.
Sophia McKee with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said the data will be vital for many reasons.
“If we have a full picture of all of the costs that are inflicted by feral swine, then it’s easier for us to ask for money from Congress to control these pigs,” McKee said.
Producers who have not responded to the confidential survey may be receiving a phone call but also still have until Aug. 18 to complete the survey online, USDA said.
Feral swine damage pasture grasses, killing plant species and often encouraging the growth of undesired weed species. They also create ruts, making it challenging for farmers to drive equipment in the affected areas.
More alarming for livestock producers, however, is the fact that feral swine can transmit pathogens to livestock, which may result in financial losses to livestock producers due to lower productivity, veterinary costs, or even mortality. Feral swine have been responsible for spreading African swine fever in many countries overseas.