STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Mississippi farmers have faced many problems growing their crops this year, and the lack of rain has delayed some crop production.
But you may not be aware of another problem they face, wild hogs.
And they're the not the cute, little animals that roll around in the mud that you may be thinking about. Instead, they're quite the nuisance.
"We've had problems with hogs for some 15 years," said farmer Dudley Waldrop.
Wild hogs devastate field crops, pastures and lawns across the Southeastern United States, and it's becoming a costly headache.
"I am economically annoyed," Waldrop said. "They devastate our income from our grain crops."
Other Miss. farmers like Waldrop face the same problem. Nationally, the figures are staggering.
"It's roughly a billion dollars a year economic impact in agriculture," said Mississippi State University Wildlife Specialist Bronson Strickland.
Hogs are destructive because they eat on the ground and dig to find the food, which causes major problems.
Laura Breazeale is a homeowner that's affected by the hogs, and she said, "It looks like someone has been driving in with a backhoe, and they have stopped, reversed directions a couple of times and then gone on."
Strickland said hogs have one of the highest reproductive rates of all mammals, which is why they are so hard to control.
"They don't have any natural predators," Strickland explained. "Man is the only predator for this species."
Waldrop typically rotates his soy bean field with corn, but for the past two years, he's missed out on over $200,000 due to two factors: weather and wild hogs.
"They are eating out of our bank accounts," Waldrop said. "They're eating our source of income."
The only way to stop the hogs from destroying land is to kill them. Year to date, Waldrop said he has killed over 300 hogs.
"Some days we kill up to 30 hogs," he said.
There is, however, one upside to the hog epidemic; wild hogs are a food source.
"Oh yeah we can eat them," Waldrop said. "We process them. We give them away."
If you're having problems with wild hogs, you are asked to contact the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks at 601-432-2400.