Federal resources available to combat feral swine

By Scott Halasz

April 4, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced Thursday new federal resources to help state and federal officials combat the devastating effects of feral – or free range – swine in Ohio. Nationally, feral swine have increased in population and can be found in 39 different states.

“These new federal funds will help officials control the population of feral swine in Ohio,” Brown said. “These animals have devastating effects on our state’s crops and can carry and transmit more than 30 diseases and 37 different parasites that can infect livestock, humans, domesticated animals, and other wildlife.”

The resources are part of a recent announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it will distribute more than $20 million in federal funding to states that are currently dealing with population growth of feral swine. In recent years, more than $1.5 billion in damages has occurred as a result of damages and control costs. Feral swine carry a range of disease and parasites that affect field and other high-value specialty crops.

According to a June 2013 investigation by the Columbus Dispatch, feral swine can now be found in areas ranging as far north as Ashtabula County and west to Butler County. Historically the animals were contained in areas of southeastern Ohio.

Brown has fought to protect Ohio lands and waterways from invasive species. In March, Brown joined 10 of his Senate colleagues in urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to aggressively work towards implementing short term measures and finding a long term solution that would stop the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. In 2013, Brown called for passage of the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013 (GLEEPA), bipartisan legislation intended to protect the Great Lakes—and the millions of jobs they support—from a variety of ecological threats and invasive species like Asian Carp.

Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years. In 2014, he was part of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully negotiating a five-year farm bill that had been stalled for more than three years.