HEADLAND, Ala. (WDHN) — “They can go down each row and dig up every seed we plant,” Henry County County Extension Coordinator, Jimmy Jones said.
Wild hogs are blamed for $1.5 billion in crop damage every year in the United States, according to a study by the USDA.
Here to help with the problem in the Wiregrass is the Feral Swine Control Program, funded through the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. The bill covers Houston, Henry, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, and portions of Barbour County.
The Alabama Soil and Water Conservation committee offers free hog trapping to landowners and producers, which is conducted by U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services in select watershed areas throughout the Wiregrass.
Farmers can also get up to 70% reimbursement on qualifying hog traps and other materials to help capture these nocturnal animals.
Jones says this time of year, which is planting season, is when the hogs are at their worst, however, they’re never fully under control.
“There is no way to eradicate the wild hog,” Jones said.
Even so, efforts can go a long way to protecting future crops.
“But trapping is a viable method to get them off that property for the cropping season we are in,” said Jones.
No matter what the season, the geography of the Wiregrass is ideal for hog populations to boom.
“They are everywhere around the Chattahoochee, they are where there is water, shelter, and Henry County is a site where they are plentiful,” Jones said.
When entire fields are up-rooted or trampled, feral hogs take a terrible toll on farmers.
Just a few weeks ago, one farmer in the Wiregrass awakened to find his crops in a 10-acre field, about the size of around 8 football fields, destroyed by swine overnight.
“In one night, a field was taken out by one herd of wild pigs,” Jones said.
To sign up for help from the Feral Swine Control Program, farmers can stop by the “Houston County Conservation District Office in Headland, or call 334-832-0120.