The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) announced that October is Hog Out Month. This is the month each year the TDA highlights the serious problems feral hogs pose to the state. Hog Out Month comes in the middle of the TDA’s 2014 Coordinated Hog Out Management Program (CHOMP) that runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The TDA has been working with counties across the Lone Star State to make a concentrated and coordinated effort to decrease the feral hog population during this three-month period and in turn, help mitigate millions of dollars in damage caused by these animals.
“Let’s get the Hogs out of Texas,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “Feral hogs are destructive creatures that cause millions of dollars in damages each year in our state. These pests are both an urban and rural problem. They destroy farmers’ fields, front yards and public property. By working together, we’re able to step up our efforts to thwart these dangerous creatures and protect our economy and Texas agriculture.”
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. Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, participating counties are tracking the number of feral hogs that are captured. Grants will be awarded based on the number of feral hogs taken in each county during the three-month challenge, as well as educational initiatives and a proposal for future abatement activities.
Through CHOMP, winning counties will receive assistance to continue local abatement activities, which may range from educating landowners on removal methods to coordinating trapping and hunting programs to conducting aerial gunning to addressing public safety hazards related to feral hogs. Individual Texas counties are eligible to apply for CHOMP grants. Applications must include the number of hogs, as certified by the county, taken during the three-month challenge. Counties also must include a proposal indicating future abatement activities for the year.
“CHOMP works to concentrate feral hog abatement activities in individual Texas counties and get the most bang for our buck,” Staples said. “Location, terrain and vegetation impact which abatement methods work best in each individual area. I look forward to seeing communities across the state stepping up to take on this challenge and make a difference for our state.”
Selected applicants will receive project funding on a cost reimbursement basis. A total of $175,000 is available. The TDA anticipates awarding 13 grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Applications will be reviewed through a competitive evaluation process.
The deadline to submit applications is Dec. 15. To learn more and download an application, click here. For questions on the application process, contact the TDA’s grants office at (512) 463-6908 or Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov.