Dealing With the Feral Swine Population

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch
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The feral or wild swine population in the United States is expanding and is estimated to have caused $1.5 billion in damage in the past year alone. Feral swine can be destructive causing property damage, spreading diseases, destroying crops, and damaging natural resources.

Back in April of 2014, the USDA announced the designation of $20 million to fund a national program to help control and lessen the damage caused by feral swine. This program is led by Wildlife Services (WS) a division of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This December, Sampson County Cooperative Extension was excited to partner with USDA’s Josh Biesecker (919-884-6832) who is a Wildlife Biologist with (APHIS) to offer a workshop showing how to properly trap feral swine and manage their population.

USDA’s feral swine program is different in each state depending on their specific needs with emphasis on controlling populations, testing animals for diseases, and researching better methods of management.

It is important to remember that the NC Department of Agriculture requires that all live swine that are transported on a public road have an official form of identification that has been approved by the State Veterinarian.

The state’s “Swine Identification Bill” became effective on October 1, 2012, and was designed to hinder the illegal movement of feral swine as well as provide a way to track the spread of disease. Those caught in violation of this requirement can be fined up to $5,000 per head.

It is easy to obtain your official tags by calling the State Veterinarian’s office at (919) 733-7601, and there is no cost for the tags. It is important to note that tags cannot be shared or borrowed from other farmers. Each ID tag must be associated with an individual farm, and if you are caught sharing or borrowing tags, there is a $1,000 penalty for each tag used.

If you have questions concerning feral swine or the “Swine Identification Bill”, contact me at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension office (910) 592-7161 or