USDA office to be at Clemson Extension | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | May 12, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: May 11, 2016 at 2:09 pm
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
The work set to begin in Room 213 at the Bernard Warshaw Building might just help Colleton County landowners and farmers in their bid to curb the population of feral swine.
At Colleton County Council’s May 3 meeting, council members entered into an agreement to provide the United States Department of Agriculture with office space within the county-owned complex that is home to the local Clemson Extension Office. That office will become the new home of USDA Wildlife Specialist Lauren Tharp. Tharp is one of the four wildlife specialists assigned to South Carolina to assist in the effort to help reduce feral swine damage.
Noel E. Myers, state director of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the local office is being established to conduct feral swine activities statewide. The state office received $295,000 in base funding for the last two federal fiscal years for the project, which includes “workshop and other outreach material to landowners, trapping, and shooting – an integrated approach to reduce damage to agriculture, natural resources and protection of property.”
“It is difficult to determine the full scope of the problem because we are just now starting to do more work in the Lowcountry and expand services,” Myers said. “However, as we start working with landowners, we will get a better idea of how feral swine damage is impacting people, property and the environment in the Lowcountry.”
Clemson Senior Agriculture Extension Agent Marion Barnes welcomes the federal assistance. Barnes commended the county council for providing the office space, calling it “a step in the right direction.” He applauds “council’s foresight in seeing the implications of this pest.”
Myers said the office will be up and running soon. “We’re still working out a few details.”
As the work begins, Myers added, farmers and landowners seeking assistance from the USDA Wildlife Specials can call the state office’s toll free number, 1-866-4USDA-WS (866-487-3297). “We can then provide their contact information to the closest wildlife specialist in the area,” Myers said.