Feral hogs are a threat to Missouri farmland, destroying crops, pastures and forests. Missouri must continue to develop and accelerate a unified plan to eradicate this pest from our state.
Black vultures have also begun to make their way into southern parts of Missouri. These predators terrorize young calves and other small animals, and international treaties prevent them from being killed.
Feral hogs have been present in Missouri for many years, and their population and range has steadily grown. As the population grew, so did its impact on the state. Agriculturalists across the southern half of the state have regularly seen row crops and pastures destroyed by this invasive pest. MOFB members believe the only acceptable goal regarding feral hogs is complete eradication.
Black vultures are relatively new to Missouri, but their appearance on the scene has not been welcomed by farmers and ranchers. These birds prey on newborn calves and other animals, tearing them apart piece by piece for a meal. International treaties protect these birds from being killed without a permit, even if attacking livestock, because they migrate over international borders.
MOFB’s involvement in this issue dates back more than a decade. In 2007, MOFB was a member of Governor Matt Blunt’s Feral Hog Task Force. To this day, MOFB members remain concerned with the property damage and disease threats caused by feral hogs and illegal transportation and release of the animals across the state. Our organization continues to be focused on promoting efforts to eliminate feral hogs.
Prior to 2019, MOFB’s policy stated, “We believe feral hogs are an unacceptable risk to both humans and livestock and support federal and state eradication efforts. We support increasing the penalty in Missouri from a misdemeanor to a felony for the intentional release of any hogs on public land or private land without acceptable confinement. We also believe it should be a felony to hold alive or transport feral hogs without a special permit from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.”
In 2019, MOFB’s State Board of Directors approved the formation of a group to study issues related to feral hogs and explore where additional policy may be needed. MOFB staff reached out to county Farm Bureau presidents from counties impacted by feral hogs for nominations to the study group.
The Feral Hog Study Group met on three occasions to gather information and consider additional policies for recommendation to MOFB’s State Resolutions Committee. Voting delegates at the Missouri Farm Bureau Annual Meeting adopted additional policy related to feral hog eradication. MOFB will continue to participate in feral hog elimination efforts based on our member-adopted policies.
Regarding black vultures, MOFB has obtained a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). MOFB has authority to issue sub-permits to livestock producers who are experiencing problems with black vultures. Livestock producers may apply to MOFB for a livestock protection depredation sub-permit allowing legal “takes” of black vultures that are attacking livestock like newborn calves and lambs.
Sub-permits will be issued to livestock operations only. Applications will be scored based on past livestock losses, number of livestock on the applicant’s farming operation, number of black vulture roosts and birds in the immediate vicinity and the county ranking of livestock with Missouri. A maximum of three “takes” may be issued to an approved applicant and will be determined by the application score. Applicants must agree to follow all rules and regulations required by USFWS in the MOFB statewide permit.
Interested livestock producers may request a sub-permit application by emailing Kelly Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the MOFB Marketing and Commodities Department at (573) 893-1416 and requesting an application. Applications must be fully completed, signed and dated by the livestock producer, and returned for consideration by the Marketing and Commodities Department.
Producers experiencing extensive depredation issues or having large black vulture roosts on their property are encouraged to reach out to USDA Wildlife Services to review the conflict and to develop a comprehensive management plan.
We believe feral hogs are an unacceptable risk to humans, livestock, crops, and property. We believe eradication of all feral hogs is the ultimate goal. We support federal and state eradication efforts.
We oppose any form of profit to be derived from feral hogs or hunting of feral hogs.
If public lands are closed to feral hog hunting, we believe relevant federal and state agencies must respond with increased eradication efforts. Furthermore, any decision to close public land owned or managed by federal or state agencies must be re-examined no later than 3 years from the date of enactment.
We believe agencies involved in eradication efforts should prioritize the removal of feral hogs. Current expenditures and staff time focused on feral hogs is not adequate. If additional funds are necessary they should be reallocated from other areas within the departments. No new taxes or fees should be required.
We support stakeholder cooperation in eradication efforts. We believe landowners and relevant agencies should work together. Eradication efforts should be done by any means necessary to eliminate feral hogs.
We support allowing landowners and landowners’ agents to use any legal means necessary to eliminate feral hogs. This includes the use of artificial lights, night vision and thermal imaging. All elimination efforts should be done with the ultimate goal of eradication.
We support allowing incidental take of feral hogs on public lands closed to feral hog hunting in accordance with MDC and US Forest Service regulations.
We support a clear definition of a feral hog in state statute and regulations. The definition should be clear enough to allow law enforcement officials to punish individuals for transporting and holding feral hogs while protecting agricultural operations.
We believe the Feral Hog Elimination Partnership should have a disposal plan in case of any disease outbreak.
We support increasing the penalty in Missouri from a misdemeanor to a felony for the intentional release of any hogs on public land or private land without acceptable confinement. We also believe it should be a felony to hold alive or transport feral hogs without permission from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
We support the development of educational programs and materials for law enforcement officials. We support allowing any law enforcement official to write a citation for illegal transport or holding of feral hogs. Law enforcement will confiscate and kill such feral hogs. We encourage the active involvement of county prosecutors, and believe anyone caught transporting or holding feral hogs should be punished to the fullest extent of the law including the loss of hunting privileges.
Blackbirds, starlings, Canada geese, black vultures and similar pests are causing serious damage to crops, livestock and property in many areas. They are a hazard to aviation and a carrier of diseases to humans as well as to livestock and crops.
We oppose requiring permits to eliminate pests covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, especially black vultures.
Wildlife is increasing over a wide geographic area. Intensive research efforts should be carried out at the state and federal levels accompanied by prompt implementation by the Conservation Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service of all practical recommendations and methods necessary to control these pests.