USDA gives $1.5 million to fight wild hogs in Georgia

ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is putting up nearly $1.5 million to help control Georgia’s wild hog population.

The recently announced funding is part of a program called the “Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program,” according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.

“I think one of the primary reasons it’s important for the USDA to get involved is because of our relationship with private landowners,” said Tina Jermone, a state resource conservationist with the department. “We already have a relationship with a lot of those landowners in implementing conservation practices.”

Jermone said that funding will go to controlling the feral swine population as well as educating people about the impact the animals have on natural resources and wildlife.

Wild hogs are an aggressive invasive species that threaten everything from farms to endangered sea turtles in Georgia.

Jermone said they can be territorial and aggressive.

“There are a variety of techniques that can be used to manage the damage caused by invasive feral swine. Fencing and harassment are appropriate in some cases, while trapping and humane euthanasia for trapped swine are tactics appropriate for other areas,” the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a statement to Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Some of the funding will also go to restoration efforts.

The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts said feral swine caused an estimated $150 million in damages to crops and natural resources in the state last year.