ALLENDALE, S.C. — Feral hogs cost South Carolina farmers $115 million a year in damages, according to the South Carolina Farm Bureau.
Rachael Sharp is a third generation farmer. Her family has owned their Allendale property since the early 1800's. Sitting on 2,000 acres, the Sharps farm corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and peanuts.
Feral hogs are costing Sharp's operation thousands of dollars. "We're completely overrun with them in this county. They'll eat pretty much anything," she says.
Sharp says she's reaching her breaking point. "My dad has been doing this for 50 years. He says he remembers hogs in the '90s, but nothing like we are facing now."
The feral hog crisis is costing South Carolina farmers, Sharp says. "They tore up 224 acres of our corn crop. That equated to about a $166,000 loss in corn."
Stephanie Sox from the South Carolina Farm Bureau says, "Hogs every year account for $115,000 damage statewide."
Hogs destroy crops by wallowing and rooting into the land. They tear up fields by digging with their hooves and repeatedly trampling the ground they forage.
"When you first come up to a field, there may not look to be much damage in it, but walk eight rows in ... it looks like literally they've mowed the crop down," Sharp says.
The South Carolina Farm Bureau says feral hogs have been recorded in all 46 counties.
South Carolina House Bill 3539 would require all pigs to be identified during transport to prove they're domestic.
"This bill requires folks, whenever they are moving hogs, domestic hogs, to have some form of identification so they are not going to be released for wild hogs," says Sox.
Representative Sylleste Davis, who represents Berkeley County, introduced the bill to help the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) enforce existing laws that prohibit the transport of feral hogs.
"The farmers just told me they're not going to be able to plant their fields this year, because if we plant the feral hogs will come in and tear it all up," Davis said.
According to DNR, there's an estimated 140,000 feral hogs across the state.