Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Conservation and agriculture groups partner against feral hogs

Ten groups work with MDC and Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation to fund feral hog trapping equipment.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has partnered with other conservation groups, agriculture organizations, and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) to provide the state’s feral hog strike team with more trapping equipment and increase feral hog communications to the public.
“The number of requests MDC gets asking for help with feral hogs continues to increase as landowners become aware of the problem with feral hogs and hog hunting,” said MDC Agriculture Liaison Brent Vandeloecht. “By collaborating with non-government organizations, MDC can increase funding to provide more traps for use on private and public land and also educate the public on the need to eradicate feral hogs.”
The total amount of funds raised equals $53,600 in cash and $23,000 in-kind, which includes costs incurred for the organizations to produce feral hog media efforts for public education.
“This is an excellent opportunity to work in collaboration with MDC and its partners to address a serious threat to agricultural and conservation resources,” said Chief Administrative Officer for the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation Dan Cassidy.
MDC currently works with private landowners to set traps to catch feral hogs. With the current equipment available, traps are moved from one private property to another after a successful trapping. However, MDC employees have noticed that once a trap is active on a property, there are usually opportunities to trap hogs in that area again. It will be more efficient to leave traps in place on private land for longer periods of time until all hogs have been trapped. This will be possible with the addition of more trapping equipment.
The following organizations have partnered with MDC and MCHF to provide resources for 65 traps and drop gates to be used by MDC for trapping efforts on private and public land, and to fund public education efforts on the dangers of feral hogs:
  • Missouri Farm Bureau
  • Missouri Corn Growers Association
  • Missouri Soybean Association
  • Missouri Cattlemen’s Association
  • MFA
  • Missouri Pork Association
  • Missouri Agribusiness
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Quality Deer Management Association
  • Quail Forever
“Quail Forever understands the value of conserving our natural resources and we further understand the degradation that occurs when feral hogs are present,” said Elsa Gallagher, Missouri State Quail Coordinator for Quail Forever. “We fully support the Department’s efforts to eradicate feral hogs.”
Feral hogs are not wildlife and are a serious threat. Feral hogs have expanded their range in the U.S. from 17 to 38 states over the past 30 years, according to Vandeloecht. Their populations grow rapidly because feral hogs can breed any time of year and produce two litters of one to seven piglets every 12 to 15 months. Feral hogs are also known to carry diseases such as swine brucellosis, pseudorabies, trichinosis and leptospirosis, which are a threat to Missouri agriculture and human health.
“Research shows that about 70 percent of the feral hog population needs to be removed yearly to keep populations of feral hogs from increasing,” Vandeloecht said. “We cannot achieve that without this partnership to increase equipment availability and we won’t achieve that without continued education and cooperation with the public.”
For more information on feral hogs in Missouri, or to report a sighting, go online tomdc.mo.gov/feralhog.