Georgia conservation districts reach milestone in feral hog control
Feral swine have become increasingly detrimental in Georgia, causing significant damage to agricultural crops and natural resources throughout the state.
According to the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD), the economic impact of damage caused by feral swine in Georgia is estimated at over $150 million. Feral swine are reported to live in all of Georgia’s 159 counties, likely only trailing the massive feral swine populations in Texas and Florida. Feral swine are one of the greatest invasive species challenges facing Georgia.
Under the leadership of Tom Mims, the GACD Feral Swine Committee chair, conservation districts have now eradicated over 5,000 feral swine from the state since the program’s inception in 2017. Conservation districts have saved landowners an estimated $1.5 million dollars in property damage caused by feral hogs (Pimental, D. 2007. Environmental & Economic Costs of Vertebrate Species Invasions into the United States).
In 2017, the Brier Creek Conservation District, led by Mims, initiated a feral swine control program within the District boundaries of Burke, Glascock, Jenkins, Jefferson and Richmond counties to assist producers and landowners who are experiencing significant damage. The Brier Creek District equipped a local hog control custodian (HCC) with automated trapping and thermal equipment to work with landowners to provide control services. Landowners and producers report that this program has made a tremendous difference in reducing feral hog damage. Farmers who have been forced to make a decision not to plant peanuts, corn, or soybeans in some of their best soils due to feral hog damage are now considering planting these crops.
GACD has expanded the program started by the Brier Creek Conservation District by providing funding for control equipment to 9 conservation districts across the state spanning 51 counties.
In addition to providing funding for control services, GACD also coordinates feral swine outreach and trapping demonstrations throughout the state in partnership with federal and state agencies.