Wednesday, January 13, 2021

USDA Invests $11.65 Million to Control Destructive Feral Swine

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $11.65 million in 14 projects to help agricultural producers and private landowners trap and control feral swine as part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. This investment expands the pilot program to new projects in Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

This pilot program is a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This second round of funding is for partners to carry out activities as part of the identified pilot projects in select states.

“These awards enable landowners to address the threat that feral swine pose to natural resources and agriculture,” NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton said. “The projects we have identified will be key to addressing the feral swine problem.”

Similar to the first round, NRCS will provide funding to partners who will provide financial assistance, education, outreach and trapping assistance to participating landowners in pilot project areas. All partner work will be closely coordinated with the APHIS operations in the pilot project areas. Between the first and second round of funding, there will be a total of 34 active projects across 12 states for the life of the 2018 Farm Bill. Each project is unique, and additional information about the expectations for individual projects can be found at

These new pilot projects and areas were selected in coordination with NRCS state conservationists, APHIS state directors and state technical committees to address feral swine issues and damage in areas with high densities. Pilot projects consist broadly of three coordinated components: 1) feral swine removal by APHIS; 2) restoration efforts supported by NRCS; and 3) assistance to producers for feral swine control provided through partnership agreements with non-federal partners. Projects are planned to conclude at the end of September 2023.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including those that restrict in-person visits or require appointments. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with NRCS, Farm Service Agency or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will continue working with our producers by phone and email and using online tools. More information can be found at offsite link image    .

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2021’s Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch


The time couldn’t be more ripe to start a new farm or ranch. Local food producers have been in demand during the pandemic, as locavore activity has soared.

But which states are better if you want to start a Green Acres life or to be at Home on the Range where the cattle and horses roam? 

LawnStarter, America’s leading outdoor services provider, compared the 50 states across 44 key metrics to rank the Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch. We looked into the infrastructure, prevalence, environmental factors, cost, and potential returns of farming and ranching in each state.

How did the states fare? Here are the top 5 and bottom 5 performers, followed by some highlights and lowlights from the findings.

Best States to Start a Farm or Ranch
3North Dakota
Worst States to Start a Farm or Ranch
47Rhode Island

Highlights and Lowlights:

  • Home on the Range: Nine of the top 10 states are fully or partially within the central Great Plains. It’s easy to see why this broad, sweeping landscape dominates the top of our ranking. States such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas boast cheap land, an excellent growing climate, and a highly developed infrastructure for farmers and rural residents. Move to the Great Plains, and you’ll be chasing cattle in no time.

  • Down and Out in the South: While the Deep South is known as an agricultural destination, many states, such as Louisiana and Alabama, rank middle to low on our list. Both states fare well in cost and return-on-investment categories, as do other southern states like Mississippi. But the South’s achilles heel appears to be both infrastructure and prevalence. Louisiana ranked lower than any other state in the number of new farms in the last year, showing a marked decrease. All three mentioned states rank in the bottom five on Community Supported Agriculture, as well. The Deep South has many charming qualities, but new farm-friendliness is not among them.

  • Leaving the West Behind: California performs surprisingly poorly in our study. While the No. 1 agricultural state when it comes to return on investment, the Golden State also ranks as the worst state for cost metrics, having the highest average per-farm production expenses of any state. It may also prove more difficult to establish a new small ranch or farm in an already crowded corporate field: California ties with a few other states for the lowest share of family-owned farms. California may be an excellent place to grow food, but it’s far from the best state for your growing agribusiness.

  • Sweet Kentucky Bourbon: The No. 1 state on our list is a bit unexpected: Kentucky. Yes, it’s a largely rural state with plenty of fertile land, but why is it the best? While ranking high in prevalence categories such as farms per state area and the share of family-owned farms, the Bluegrass State wins with a more well-rounded approach, ranking in at least the top 20 in every metric category. Many other states have competing metrics that cancel each other out: high populations and crop yields can lead to equally high land prices and less available land. Kentucky — much like it’s bourbon — sits right in that middle sweet spot to be the best state for new farmers and ranchers. 


Our full ranking and analysis can be found here: 

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