Cotton Belt growers who consider feral swine a pest equal to pigweed in their fields now have a USDA-funded opportunity to help reduce the swine population.
USDA is offering $75 million in funding for the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) in a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The 2018 Farm Bill included this new pilot program to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems, and human and animal health.
NRCS will direct up to $33.75 million of the allocated FSCP funds toward partnership efforts to work with landowners in identified pilot projects in targeted areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. APHIS has determined that these states have among the highest feral swine population densities and associated damages in the country.
“NRCS state conservationists and APHIS state directors, in coordination with state technical committees, have identified pilot projects that can be carried out within these target states,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “Our agencies stand ready to work with partners at the state and local level to respond to the threat of feral swine.”
Applications are being accepted through August 19, 2019, for partners to carry out activities as part of these pilot projects, which consist of three coordinated components:
- Feral swine removal by APHIS
- Restoration efforts supported by NRCS
- Assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners.
Projects can be one to three years in duration.
“The projects selected for funding will allow APHIS and NRCS to collectively reduce the damage and disease caused by one of the most destructive and formidable invasive species in the United States,” said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea. “Overall, this pilot program builds upon and expands work already underway by APHIS’ National Feral Swine Damage Management Program to both manage feral swine and eliminate populations in partnership with local government, the private sector, industry and academia.”
NRCS is now accepting proposals from non-federal partners to provide landowner assistance for on-farm trapping and related services as part of the FSCP projects and will fund these services through partnership agreements. The funding limit for a single award is $1.5 million. Awardees will be required to provide at least 25% of the partnership agreement budget as a match to NRCS funding.
Additional information on the complete funding announcement and about specific pilot projects – including target areas and the roles for which partner assistance is being requested – can be found on the FSCP webpage. Applications must be submitted through grants.gov by 5:00 pm Eastern time on August 19, 2019.
Based on information provided by USDA