Producers need to be on look-out for feral pigs, say National Pork Board officials. Feral pigs, or wild pigs, can cause extensive damage to property, crops and pose a health threat to the national swine herd.

According to USDA numbers, there are about 4 million wild pigs distributed across 39 states.  The population and distribution of these feral pigs has expanded in the last decade, with wild pigs having been sighted and hunted in states including Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.

Wild pigs carry external parasites and diseases of importance to the pork industry.  They may carry Brucellosis, pseudorabies, classical swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever, porcine reproduction and respiratory syndrome, swine influenza virus and Leptospirosis. 

USDA data for this year shows that feral pig populations that are serologically positive for Brucellosis have been found in 14 states.  Pseudorabies has been confirmed in feral pig populations in at least 11 states. In 2003, feral pigs sampled in South Carolina were found serologically positive to the H1 subtype of the swine influenza virus and serologically positive to PRRS.

Pork producers can protect herds from contact with wild pigs though strict biosecurity measures, including perimeter fencing.  “Flies, birds and rodents may be vectors carrying infection between feral pigs and production animals," says Mark Boggess, NPB's director of animal science.  "A rodent-control program, bird-proof buildings and eliminating feed and grain spills as much as possible are all important biosecurity measures to have in place.” 

Pigs produced outdoors are especially vulnerable to feral pigs. “Producers with pigs outdoors should think of having a strong perimeter fence surrounding their pastures, and fences should be checked daily,”  says Boggess.

All feral pig sightings should be reported to the state veterinarian’s office. Your state my have a feral pig control and eradication process in place. “Producers should review state regulations to find out about managing and controlling wild pigs around their property,” says Boggess

National Pork Board