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ALM Criticize House Vote Against Feral Swine Ban
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Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today called on the Michigan Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder to let stand a ban against feral swine that threatens Michigan agriculture and jobs, after the House voted late Thursday to lift the ban and open the door to more invasive species into Michigan.


Source: Agricultural Leaders of Michigan

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan Criticize House Vote against Feral Swine Ban, Urge Senate and Governor to Let Ban Stand


Agricultural Leaders of Michigan today called on the Michigan Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder to let stand a ban against feral swine that threatens Michigan agriculture and jobs, after the House voted late Thursday to lift the ban and open the door to more invasive species into Michigan.

"At a time when 35 states and the USDA have declared wild hogs an invasive species, it is unbelievable that Michigan would even consider regulating wild hogs rather than join the vast majority of states that recognize the threat these animals pose and are trying to eliminate them or have already made it illegal to have these animals for sport shooting purposes,” said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “By passing legislation that will attempt to regulate the sport shooting facilities that have been responsible for creating this problem, the House has put not only the pork industry in jeopardy, but all of Michigan agriculture along with the state’s environmental landscape and natural resources. Hopefully, the Senate will see fit to protect this state’s vibrant agriculture industry and natural resource base by rejecting these bills.”

“The House decision to put a dangerous invasive species ahead of Michigan dairy farms and producers is very disappointing,” said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “Dairy is Michigan’s largest commodity, employing more than 26,500 people. Michigan dairy producers urge the Senate to do the right thing and let stand the ban against feral swine.”

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 upwards of 2,000, 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 on 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. The House voted on Thursday to lift the ban and regulate feral swine. The issue now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Rick Jones plans to introduce legislation making the feral swine ban state law – a move ALM supports.

“this reckless and irresponsible House vote puts tens of thousands of Michigan agricultural jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in agricultural investments and the future of family farms across our state at risk,” 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 hope the Senate hears this message loud and clear: Feral swine is a serious threat to agriculture and they put local jobs at risk.”

“The House refused to seize the opportunity to stop feral swine at our borders and stand on the side of Michigan agriculture,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “We still have an opportunity to take action against this epidemic, and a ban against feral swine is the right thing to do.”

“We urge the Senate to do the right thing 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. “We call on the Senate to ban feral swine as Sen. Rick Jones correctly wants to do, and give Michigan agriculture the support we need against this imported invasive species that endangers local jobs.”

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