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ATHENS – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it is awarding approximately $1.5 million to fund pilot projects to control feral swine in Georgia.

These projects are part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program – a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems, and human and animal health.

“Feral swine cause significant damage to crops and grazing lands, while also impacting the health of our natural resources,” said NRCS State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph. “By collaborating with our partners nationally and here in Georgia, our hope is to control this invasive species – improving operations for farmers while also protecting our natural resources for the future.”

NRCS and APHIS are working with the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District in portions of Baker, Calhoun, Dougherty and Terrell counties on one project. Additionally, the group is working with Tall Timbers Research Inc., in portions of Brooks, Grady and Thomas counties, as well as several counties in North Florida.

NRCS, APHIS and the Georgia State Technical Committee worked together to define the critical areas to be considered for projects within the state. The Georgia pilot project runs from one to three years in duration. These projects will consist broadly of three coordinated components: 1) feral swine control by APHIS; 2) restoration efforts supported by NRCS; and 3) assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners. As a result, partners will be conducting outreach and educational efforts as well as facilitating landowner activities in these project areas.

NRCS is awarding more than $16.7 million this year for feral swine pilot projects in select areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The funding limit for a single award is $1.5 million. Awardees are required to provide at least 25 percent of the partnership agreement budget as a match to NRCS funding. APHIS is providing $23.3 million this year to the Wildlife Services programs located in the pilot projects states.

The 2018 Farm Bill provides $75 million for the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. These funds are for the life of the farm bill and divided evenly between NRCS and APHIS.

Additional information on NRCS’ feral swine control work can be found at http://nrcs.usda.gov/fscp.

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