LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Agriculture announced that additional funding had been made available to assist with feral hog eradication efforts in Arkansas.
According to a press release, $650,000 in federal funding was secured through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to implement additional eradication efforts across the state. Additionally, the Buffalo River Conservation Committee (BRCC) allocated $74,960 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services to expand eradication efforts within the Buffalo River watershed.
“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Boozman and the BRCC to provide additional resources that will enable the Department and our partners on the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force to expand efforts to remove more feral hogs from Arkansas’s croplands, pastures, forests, and wetlands,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will use the federal funds to work with USDA Wildlife Services to implement a statewide feral hog management plan. These efforts will supplement ongoing removal activities, including eradication efforts in 12 Arkansas counties funded through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program.
USDA Wildlife Services will use the funding from the BRCC to purchase additional traps and other equipment to expand trapping efforts within the Buffalo River watershed.
Approximately 30,000 feral hogs have been removed from the state by members of the Feral Hog Eradication Task Force since January 2020. The Task Force was created by the Arkansas legislature in 2017 to create a plan to eradicate feral hogs in Arkansas and is made up of 21 federal and state agencies and non-government organizations.
More information on the Task Force can be found here.
Feral hogs are an invasive species that are especially destructive to crops, native wildlife, and young domestic livestock. In Arkansas, the latest survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that feral swine cause at least $41 million in agricultural damages every year, including $34 million in damages to soybeans, corn, cotton, wheat, hay, pecans, and rice, and $7.3 million in damages to livestock.
Landowners experiencing feral hog damage are encouraged to call USDA Wildlife Services at (501) 835-2318 for assistance.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to developing and implementing policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation.
Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov to learn more.