Halifax Co., VA - Feral hogs may become the next big problem for farmers in Halifax County.
Animals like deer can be a problem, but experts say hogs have the potential to be a lot worse. They can breed at six months of age and produce up to 20 piglets a year. That's very concerning for farmers.
Hot weather may not be the only threat to crops this year; four-legged intruders could soon make their mark on local farms.
"We refer to feral swine as four legged ecological disasters," said Aaron Proctor, district wildlife biologist.
"It can be devastating," said Billy Wooding, a hog farmer.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension Office says feral hogs are already in Halifax County, likely because of hunters releasing them. But they are worse in surrounding counties and more could soon migrate to the Southside.
"You don't know until they get here but they really done damage to the corn in the past," said Steve Hudson, a farmer.
Hudson is no stranger to hog damage, he's lost parts of his 350 acres of corn in the past. He worries more could destroy his hard work.
"At the prices of today, any damage can add up," said Hudson.
Wooding says wild hogs can come with disease.
"Feral swine are about the dirtiest wild roaming species that we know of in the United States," said Proctor.
"If there is a case broken out it could be very detrimental to the animals. It also could affect the sales of pork," said Wooding.
The worst-case scenario: Wooding would have to quarantine his thousands of hogs.
"It could be very very costly. Very costly...Like thousands of dollars," said Wooding.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is hosting a seminar on August 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department for more information about these feral hogs.
But if you see any hogs, they ask that you report them. Get contact information here.