Texas Agriculture April 7, 2017 : Page 15

Wild hogs focus of Public Health Committee hearing By Julie Tomascik Editor Wild hogs are a Texas-sized prob-lem that’s growing exponentially with each litter. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of Kaput Feral Hog Bait, a warfarin-based product, looked to change that for Texas landowners. The pesticide, which causes hogs that consume it to die of internal bleeding, was ap-proved Jan. 3, 2017 by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. In February, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced an emergency rule that would have restricted its use to licensed, trained pesticide applicators. But a state judge issued a tempo-rary restraining order against the rule on March 2, lifting the addition-al restrictions added by Miller. Now, two bills have been filed by Texas lawmakers. HB 3451, au-thored by Rep. Lynn Stucky, and SB 1454, filed by Sen. Kirk Watson, add another layer of legal wrangling. Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) op-poses both bills and testified before the Texas House Committee on Pub-lic Health March 28 about concerns with the legislation. “While this bill is well intended, it goes too far by delaying the use of a product that has been studied and approved by the EPA,” Tracy Tomas-cik, TFB associate director of Com-modity and Regulatory Activities, testified before the committee. “Wa-ter quality, food and fiber production and quality of life and health are of utmost importance to Texas Farm Bureau and the current feral hog population jeopardizes all of this. Landowners simply need this tool.” To date, two studies have been conducted on Kaput and a third is currently underway. “We should not pick and choose which EPA-approved pesticides used within their label should be held to more testing,” Tomascik said. That’s what would be needed if station. Carcasses must be buried 18 inches below the surface. If that’s not possible due to environmental con-ditions, other state and locally ap-proved methods would suffice. Per the label, grazing should be restricted in areas around the baited feeders until at least 90 days after re-moving the pesticide. Tomascik noted in his testimony that farmers and ranchers have long experienced damages and the need for a new method to control the ever-growing population is necessary. “Through the use of firearms, traps and state-sponsored events, we have been successful in terminating only a very small portion,” Tomas-cik said. “We cannot continue on this fight with only the current methods.” The Texas A&M AgriLife Exten-sion Service estimates 2 million wild hogs are in the Lone Star State, caus-ing about $52 million in damage an-nually to agriculture. The invasive species can be found in 230 of the 254 Texas counties. In addition to testifying before the House Committee on Public Health, TFB submitted a letter with other agricultural organizations to the Tex-as House of Representatives. Other groups joining TFB includ-ed the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Pest Management Association and the Texas Wheat Producers As-sociation. They stressed the need for a solu-tion. “Combatting these pests is not new. Despite the best efforts through trapping, hunting and state incen-tivized population programs, they have failed to keep the population at a manageable level. Even the as-sistance of natural disasters like droughts, floods and wildfires have not helped in controlling the spe-cies,” the letter said. “We must be allowed to use all means necessary that have been found safe and effec-tive.” We cannot continue on this fight with only the current methods. Tracy Tomascik TFB associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities HB 3451 and SB 1454 pass. The bills outline requirements for state agency or university research before the pesticide could be used, which would fall on taxpayers to fund. The controlled field trials— which would also assess the conse-quences to property owners, hunters and agriculture—would essentially repeat the EPA-approved studies that have already been conducted. “Kaput Feral Hog Bait has proven safe and effective in pen settings and in field trials—both of which were conducted in Texas,” Tomascik said. “EPA holds high standards in approving pesticides, herbicides and other items that are used in the en-vironment to make sure ancillary ef-fects are minimal.” The Colorado-based company, Sci-metrics, that manufactures Kaput, recommends using a Hoghopper-like feeder. The weighted lids of the feed-er allow hogs to access the bait, while preventing consumption by non-tar-get species. The pesticide must be dispensed through this feeder or one of a similar type. Prior to supplementing with Ka-put, the applicator must condition the hogs to routine feeding from the bait A PRIL 7 , 2017 15

Wild Hogs Focus of Public Health Committee Hearing

Julie Tomascik

Wild hogs are a Texas-sized problem that’s growing exponentially with each litter.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of Kaput Feral Hog Bait, a warfarin-based product, looked to change that for Texas landowners. The pesticide, which causes hogs that consume it to die of internal bleeding, was approved Jan. 3, 2017 by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

In February, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced an emergency rule that would have restricted its use to licensed, trained pesticide applicators.

But a state judge issued a temporary restraining order against the rule on March 2, lifting the additional restrictions added by Miller.

Now, two bills have been filed by Texas lawmakers. HB 3451, authored by Rep. Lynn Stucky, and SB 1454, filed by Sen. Kirk Watson, add another layer of legal wrangling.

Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) opposes both bills and testified before the Texas House Committee on Public Health March 28 about concerns with the legislation.

“While this bill is well intended, it goes too far by delaying the use of a product that has been studied and approved by the EPA,” Tracy Tomascik, TFB associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities, testified before the committee. “Water quality, food and fiber production and quality of life and health are of utmost importance to Texas Farm Bureau and the current feral hog population jeopardizes all of this. Landowners simply need this tool.”

To date, two studies have been conducted on Kaput and a third is currently underway.

“We should not pick and choose which EPA-approved pesticides used within their label should be held to more testing,” Tomascik said.

That’s what would be needed if HB 3451 and SB 1454 pass.

The bills outline requirements for state agency or university research before the pesticide could be used, which would fall on taxpayers to fund. The controlled field trials— which would also assess the consequences to property owners, hunters and agriculture—would essentially repeat the EPA-approved studies that have already been conducted.

“Kaput Feral Hog Bait has proven safe and effective in pen settings and in field trials—both of which were conducted in Texas,” Tomascik said. “EPA holds high standards in approving pesticides, herbicides and other items that are used in the environment to make sure ancillary effects are minimal.”

The Colorado-based company, Scimetrics, that manufactures Kaput, recommends using a Hoghopper-like feeder. The weighted lids of the feeder allow hogs to access the bait, while preventing consumption by non-target species. The pesticide must be dispensed through this feeder or one of a similar type.

Prior to supplementing with Kaput, the applicator must condition the hogs to routine feeding from the bait station. Carcasses must be buried 18 inches below the surface. If that’s not possible due to environmental conditions, other state and locally approved methods would suffice.

Per the label, grazing should be restricted in areas around the baited feeders until at least 90 days after removing the pesticide.

Tomascik noted in his testimony that farmers and ranchers have long experienced damages and the need for a new method to control the ever-growing population is necessary.

“Through the use of firearms, traps and state-sponsored events, we have been successful in terminating only a very small portion,” Tomascik said. “We cannot continue on this fight with only the current methods.”

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service estimates 2 million wild hogs are in the Lone Star State, causing about $52 million in damage annually to agriculture.

The invasive species can be found in 230 of the 254 Texas counties.

In addition to testifying before the House Committee on Public Health, TFB submitted a letter with other agricultural organizations to the Texas House of Representatives.

Other groups joining TFB included the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Pest Management Association and the Texas Wheat Producers Association.

They stressed the need for a solution.

“Combatting these pests is not new. Despite the best efforts through trapping, hunting and state incentivized population programs, they have failed to keep the population at a manageable level. Even the assistance of natural disasters like droughts, floods and wildfires have not helped in controlling the species,” the letter said. “We must be allowed to use all means necessary that have been found safe and effective.”

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Wild+Hogs+Focus+of+Public+Health+Committee+Hearing/2754913/398143/article.html.

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