South Carolina’s Wild Hog Task Force

IMG_0380The feral hog population in the south continues to grow, and education on control measures is growing right along with the population.  Ben Powell with Clemson Extension is state coordinator of the Wild Hog Task Force in South Carolina explains how the wild hog population got its start:

“South Carolina is one of the original introductions of wild hogs in the early 1500s by the explorers. For many years they were in the swamps and the wild and not causing any problems. But in the last 35 years popylaions have bloomed out of control and they are establishing populations in 39 states.”

Powell explains that the impact of the feral hog population is widespread:

“They can impact the productivity of any natural resource enterprise. That includes agriculture, horticulture, livestock, residential, forestry, wildlife, etc.”

Feral hogs have the ability to be particularly devastating to agriculture row crops explains Powell:

“They feed predominately on vegetation like corn and peanuts. They will continue to eat the residue even after he crop has been harvested. So tey have the chance to impact second rotation crops like wheat and cover crops.”

Eradication of feral hogs isn’t believed to be possible, but how about management and control?:

“That is a lofty goal. We believe that you have to remove about 80% of them to make any headway on reducing populations. On localized areas its possible, but nationwide we will have them forever.”

And that’s where the Wild Hog Task Force comes in says Powell:

“Here in SC, we want to come up with a game plan and improve awareness. The Wild Hog Task Force was formed and it includes the natural resource agencies, USDA, Fish and Wildlife agencies and some private interest, along with Farm Bureau and some of the Ag Commodity groups.”

Monday on Inside Agriculture we’ll continue our visit with the head of the Wild Hog Task Force for Clemson, Ben Powell on management of the state’s feral hog population.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.