If wild pigs could fly, Texas farmer Richard Beyer wishes they would travel far, far away. He grows corn, cotton, rice and grain sorghum along the Gulf Coast and estimates damage from feral swine can sometimes wipe out one-fifth of his crop.
"They root up and make holes and tear up cotton fields," he said. "For corn, rice and grain sorghum, they are pretty terrible on it too."
Beyer said feral swine have been around as long as he can remember but it used to be one or two caught occasionally in fields and they were manageable. "They've gotten a lot worse — so bad that you can't hardly trap them anymore because the numbers are so big."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates feral swine costs about $1.5 billion in damage annually, although experts at the University of Georgia suggest the cost maybe closer to between $2 billion to $2.5 billion. The damage to agriculture is estimated at just under $1 billion annually.