Oklahoma Department of Ag Unveils Tough Feral Swine Control Rule- Designed to Make the State of Oklahoma Free of Wild HogsWed, 30 Dec 2015 15:31:33 CST
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has released their proposed rule on controlling wild hogs- or feral swine- in the state of Oklahoma. In the purpose that is at the top of the proposal- the Agency says that the rule is to implement the Feral Swine Control Act and (in new proposed language) "to adopt aggressive measures for the eradication of all feral swine in the State of Oklahoma." The purpose goes on to state that "Feral swine pose a health risk to humans, livestock, companion animals and native wildlife. The Department's goal is to render the State of Oklahoma free of feral swine."
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Blayne Arthur about the proposed rule- and she says that the Department is proposing the total elimination of feral hogs from the state- and that within the proposal, there is new language that "will hopefully start slowly working us toward that goal over the next few years."
Arthur says that one element of the proposal is brand new- as the Department is calling for a "Feral Swine Free Zone." The region identified stretches along the northern border of the state and includes eleven counties- including Grant and Garfield as it's eastern boundary and moving west from those counties to the western end of the Panhandle. In addition to those two counties, other counties that are targeted for the Feral Swine Free Zone include Alfalfa, Major, Woods, Woodward, Ellis, Harper, Beaver, Texas and Cimarron Counties. She explains that this is the area where you currently find the fewest wild hogs of any part of the state- and it is also where a significant part of our commercial swine industry is found, with the hope that establishing this zone will help protect the well being of the domesticated hogs in that region.
Transportation of feral swine through or into this region will be prohibited and any current feral swine facilities licensed in that region will not have their licenses renewed once the the rule becomes final.
In addition, the proposal tightens up the licensing of those who can transport live feral swine in the rest of the state- and sets up a very tight window of just 24 hours for swine to be transported once a permit is applied for and granted. The proposal also would make the current mortatorium on new licenses for sports facilities permanent, which would mean that no new sports facilities would be allowed to be established in the state. Sports facilities that are now licensed and operating would be allowed, if all requirements are being met, to apply for and receive renewals of their licenses annually.
Hays and Arthur talk in detail about the new feral swine free zone, transportation of feral swine, sports facilities and how these proposed rules stack up versus the control efforts of states in our region. You can hear their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
You can review the proposal from ODAFF by clicking on the PDF file icon at the bottom of this story. The rule will be opened for public comment on January 15, 2016 and the comment period will end on February 15, 2016. A public hearing is planned by the ODAFF on February 17, 2016 at 1:00 pm at the ODAFF Board Room in the Ag Building at 2800 North Lincoln in Oklahoma City. Arthur says that Board is expected to vote on a finalized version of the rules during their March Board Meeting.
To read the Feral Swine Control Act as found in Oklahoma law, click here.
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