The Natural Resources Institute, NRI, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have released a two-part virtual webinar series in support of the Texas Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program.
“The series was created to provide assistance to producers and the public as part of the educational component of the feral swine pilot program,” said Josh Helcel, project coordinator with NRI and one of the creators of the webinar series.
“Many of the restrictions in place related to COVID-19 have now eased, but some folks may still be reluctant to attend educational workshops in person,” Helcel said. “Education on wild pig management is still very much needed across our state. We wanted to provide an online option that will also benefit program participants in our more remote project areas.”
The two-part series addresses the biology, impacts, lethal and non-lethal control strategies, as well as current laws and regulations associated with wild pigs in Texas. It is available free of charge to statewide pilot program participants and the public. Both webinars can be accessed online at Wild Pig Impacts and Abatement – Part I and Wild Pig Impacts and Abatement – Part II.
“The goal of these webinars is to provide educational resources that can be accessed remotely, safely and at the leisure of anyone seeking to gain more information on understanding and controlling wild pigs,” Helcel said.
Feral swine control in Texas
The Texas Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program is currently underway in three multi-county project areas of Texas. Project areas include the Canadian River – Hartley, Oldham and Potter counties; the Leon River – Eastland, Comanche and Erath counties; and the upper Red River – Hardeman, Wilbarger, Wichita and Clay counties.
The goals of the project include significant reduction in both agricultural damages and wild pig populations over the course of the three-year project through interagency control efforts, habitat restoration and educational collaborations between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, NRCS, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, APHIS, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, NRI, local soil and water conservation districts, and the Texas Wildlife Damage Management Association.
The project contains three components: educational, direct control and habitat restoration. The educational component of the project is aimed at helping landowners hone their wild pig reduction skills.
The second component is direct control through trap sharing, aerial gunning and other conventional control techniques in coordination with APHIS, AgriLife Extension, local soil and water conservation districts and participating landowners. APHIS and the AgriLife Extension personnel will monitor and collect data for project activities.
The third component is habitat restoration. NRCS personnel will do this both throughout and following extensive wild pig population reduction efforts within the project areas.
“Wild pig management is everyone’s responsibility, not just the landowners and not just the professionals,” Helcel said. “One of the great things about this pilot program is that it combines the efforts of both to work together towards our common goal of reduced wild pig numbers and damages.”
More information on feral swine control
Additional educational resources in support of this project include wild pig courses available online at https://nri.tamu.edu/learning/. Topics include control strategies, biology, impacts, safety precautions and the use of NRI’s wild pig reporting tool.
For more information on the direct control and trap loan components of the Texas Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, or to enroll for landowners within the Leon, Red River and Canadian project areas, email David Pipkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Texas Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, to contribute feral swine damage information or to enroll in the program for landowners within the Leon, Red River and Canadian project areas, email Hallie Halstead at email@example.com or Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for educational resources in support of the Texas Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program are provided through a federal NRCS grant administered by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.