Jefferson County Farmer Works to Manage Crops and Control Feral Hog Population
As a teenager in high school, John Brady worked with his brother-in-law during the summers by helping with their cotton crop. When Brady returned home from college, his mom asked him to pursue any profession except farming. But, one day while sitting on a cotton picker, Brady knew that the farm was where he belonged.
That moment of realization happened 26 years ago. Now, Brady farms soybeans, peanuts, cotton, and corn on 3,000 acres near Redlick, Mississippi in Jefferson County.
After having erosion control problems, Brady reached out to the USDA/ Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and was introduced to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Due to Brady’s ability to adopt good conservation practices, he was eligible to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Through CSP, Brady has benefited from precision application of manure, intensive cover cropping, controlled traffic systems, and land application of treated manure.
“If it had not been for NRCS on a lot of these practices, we wouldn’t have had the available funds,” said Brady. “They also give us leadership. They come out with the transits and shoot places for us and tell us the grade. They tell us what we need to do and give us advice on certain situations.”
Since 1998, Brady has also been working to combat the population of feral hogs on his property.“They’re like a runaway freight train. Once you get them, you never get rid of them,” said Brady.
Feral hogs are detrimental to row crops because they root through the fields. Since seeds are often expensive, farmers like Brady, try various methods of monitoring the animals to avoid a loss in their crop production.
NRCS’s feral hog initiative is funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applicants are able to enroll in a feral swine population management plan and receive financial assistance to install cameras, which monitor the activity of the swine.
“NRCS has helped Mr. Brady with his feral swine initiative by allowing him to purchase cameras, said Marcus Shorter, Soil Conservationist in Jefferson Davis County. “He has approximately two field cameras on his property that he’s using to monitor the catch pins."
Decreasing the population of feral hogs helps to reduce/eliminate water quality degradation, soil erosion and wildlife degradation. Becoming knowledgeable of their behavior helps to gather intelligence.
By helping the hogs trust the bait source, farmers can hopefully catch a sounder.
Brian Moore, a distributor for a feral swine control technology research and consulting company, works with Brady to implement best practices to monitor the hog population.
“The feral hog is more or less a nocturnal animal. The cameras help you with a set of eyes in the woods to show you how many hogs you have and how big your sounder is,” said Moore.
John Brady hopes by participating in the feral hog initiative other private landowners will become knowledgeable about the feral hog program and begin to create solutions.
“My local NRCS has given me a lot of light from the technical end; not only with the feral hog program, but with CSP and the row cropping,” said Brady.
Story By: Candace Chambers, Public Affairs Student Trainee