Commissioner Staples Awards County Partnership Grants to Combat Feral Hog Threat to Landowners, Drivers, Residents (8/15/2013)
AUSTIN —Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced two grants totaling $55,000 were awarded to Texas counties in an effort to enhance statewide feral hog abatement. Grant funds were made available through TDA’s County Hog Abatement Matching Program (CHAMP), which supports the development of low-cost, high-return, regionally-coordinated programs that leverage local resources to combat the growing feral hog population in Texas. Caldwell County in partnership with Hays County was awarded $30,000 to support abatement efforts. Additionally, $25,000 was awarded to a partnership among Bell, Coryell, Falls, Hamilton and Milam counties.
“The feral hog population has exploded in the last 20 years, costing Texans untold millions of dollars,” Commissioner Staples said. “Our ability to control this will depend on two primary factors. First, our efforts must be coordinated across all public entities and private landowners. Second, we must focus on the most low-cost, high-return methods when investing limited taxpayer dollars into these efforts. CHAMP grants accomplish both of these by building on the successes of recent initiatives.”
Texas is home to the largest feral hog population in the United States with nearly 2.6 million feral hogs causing an estimated $500 million in damage in rural and urban Texas each year. CHAMP is designed to encourage counties across Texas to create regional partnerships with other counties, local governments, businesses, landowners and associations to reduce the feral hog population and the damage caused by these pests.
Caldwell and Hays counties plan to use grant funds to supplement current hog abatement initiatives by acquiring trapping equipment, contracting with professional trappers and professional aerial hunters. As well, the partnership will offer a $5 per hog bounty program and enhance existing hog management programs in both counties.
CHAMP grants are awarded through a competitive application process. The participating county partnerships are required to contribute a minimum match of one dollar for every dollar of grant money requested.
In 2010, Commissioner Staples created the Hog Out Challenge to encourage locally-initiated feral hog abatement activities in counties across Texas through coordinated and concentrated attacks. This has resulted in some of the lowest-cost, highest-yielding hog removal activities since 2006 when the state began investing in these efforts. CHAMP, in partnership with Hog Out, aims to strengthen the state’s feral hog abatement initiatives by adding a regional focus across multiple counties.
For more information about TDA’s Feral Hog Grant programs, click here.