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ALM Applauds Sen. Jones for Fight to Ban Feral Swine
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Estimated by experts to number up to 5,000, feral swine have been reported to destroy entire farms, devour essential crops, eat young livestock and wildlife and spread dangerous diseases that endanger Michigan’s livestock sector.


Source: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan Applauds Sen. Jones for Fighting to Make Feral Swine Ban a State Law

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today applauded Sen. Rick Jones after he announced a plan to make an order banning feral swine a new state law.

"Sen. Rick Jones understands the serious concerns farmers, local businesses, property owners and ordinary citizens have about the threat from feral swine to our natural resources, agricultural sector and jobs," said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. "Feral swine are the most serious invasive species threat Michigan faces today, and demands a serious response. Sen. Rick Jones deserves credit for putting Michigan jobs and Michigan’s future ahead of an invasive species."

"All it takes is a handful of feral swine with bovine tuberculosis to wipe out small family owned dairy businesses and kill local jobs – and we applaud Sen. Rick Jones for understanding what’s at stake," said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. "Dairy is Michigan’s largest commodity, employing more than 26,500 people. A ban on feral swine can help us protect those jobs and thousands more that would otherwise be at risk if we let this invasive species spread in Michigan."

Michigan agriculture employs more than 1 million people statewide and generates more than $71.3 billion a year, making it the second largest economic sector in Michigan. Estimated by experts to number up to 5,000, feral swine have been reported to destroy entire farms, devour essential crops, eat young livestock and wildlife and spread dangerous diseases that endanger Michigan’s livestock sector. In addition, property owners have reported significant damages from feral swine, a prolific breeder capable of producing nearly two litters of around 6 piglets every year for as many as 12 years. Animal experts say feral swine are overwhelmingly the descendants of escaped razorbacks and Russian boars imported into Michigan from outside by shooting facilities. One of the nation’s top experts of feral swine, Dr. Jack Mayer, told news media in April that the best way to fight the feral swine epidemic is through a ban.

A state order currently bans feral swine. On July 8, the ban would be permanent unless the Legislature approves and the governor signs legislation "regulating" feral swine, effectively reversing the ban, a move scientists and experts have strongly called into question but which some legislators want to do. Jones’ plan would codify the ban into state law, effectively strengthening the existing order against efforts to reverse it.

"Sen. Rick Jones is putting tens of thousands of Michigan agricultural jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in agricultural investments and the future of family farms across our state ahead of feral swine, as it should be – and his plan deserves the full support of the Michigan Legislature," said Dave Armstrong, president and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services. "A ban against feral swine is the best way to protect the future of Michigan’s agricultural economy from this invasive species."

"We in agriculture may not be able to do much about adverse weather, but we can do something about feral swine – by stopping them at our borders," said John Cnudde, chairman of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. "I’ve seen firsthand what feral swine do to local farms, where every dollar of damage can cause real pain to family businesses. We can and must take action against this epidemic, and a ban against feral swine as Sen. Rick Jones proposes is the right thing to do."

"We urge the Legislature to join Sen. Rick Jones and fight feral swine with the same commitment it has shown in fighting Asian carp, zebra mussels, emerald ash borer and other invasive species that endanger Michigan’s economy," said Ben Kudwa, legislative director of the Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc.

CONTACTS:

  • Dave Armstrong, President and CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit Services: (517) 318-2290
  • Ken Nobis, President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association: (248) 474-6672
  • George House, Executive Director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Inc.: (616) 676-5593
  • Ben Kudwa, Legislative Director of the Potato Growers of Michigan:  (517) 669-8377
  • Sam Hines, Executive Vice President, Michigan Pork Producers Association: (517) 853-3782
  • Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association: (517) 336-0223