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Oct. 9, 2020
By Ryan McGeeneyU of A System Division of Agriculture
(452 words)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
LITTLE ROCK — County agents with the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, will serve as a leading edge in educating
Arkansans about potential damages posed by feral hogs, and the state’s efforts to
Feral hogs are an invasive species known for damaging both agricultural and wild areas,
often denuding areas of native plants, acorns and other food and cover that animals
rely on. They are known to host at least 45 animal diseases and parasites. In Arkansas
alone, feral hogs inflict an estimated $19 million in row crop damage annually, according
to a 2014 study.
Becky McPeake, extension wildlife specialist and professor for the Division of Agriculture,
said CES offices throughout the state will be among several state agencies to soon
begin distributing the Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook, a product of the Arkansas Department
of Agriculture, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation
The 20-page handbook is an educational tool of the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication
Task Force, which was established in 2017. Factual information in the handbook was
based on publications from the Division of Agriculture and other partner organizations,
Cooperative Extension has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas. The handbook, which
is available both in print and online, will also be available through the Arkansas
Association of Conservation Districts, Arkansas Game and Fish, Arkansas Farm Bureau
and other partnering organizations.
The handbook can be viewed and downloaded at no cost at https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/FeralHogHandbook.pdf.
In addition to making the handbooks available, Cooperative Extension agents will lead
multiple public education efforts, including landowner education pertaining to feral
hog trap demonstrations and best practice discussions. Cooperative Extension will
also continue ongoing research, including monitoring hog-related damage, evaluating
the effectiveness of various control measures and experimenting with cutting-edge
The Arkansas Forest Resource Center, part of the Division of Agriculture which includes
Cooperative Extension Service research and teaching faculty, will also bring interdisciplinary
expertise to bear on the ongoing issue, McPeake said.
“Feral hogs are destructive to our state’s agriculture and forest industries, and
directly compete with native wildlife for habitat,” she said. “They have a high reproductive
capacity and can overtake the landscape fairly quickly. It’s going to require a concerted
effort among private landowners, government agencies, and conservation organizations
to fend off the ever-growing population of feral hogs in the state.”
Populations have been detected in every county in Arkansas, and are known to multiply
quickly — a sow can produce one to two litters in a year, with four to 12 piglets
per year. Because they become sexually active within six to eight months, populations
can double in as little as four months, according to the handbook.
To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative
Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media contact:Ryan McGeeneyCommunications ServicesUniversity of Arkansas System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org