Days after feral hogs destroy family farm in Oklahoma, Kansas farmer sees them dangerously close for first time
GARDEN PLAIN, Kan. (KAKE) - Of all the things farmers have to overcome every year to have successful crops, one of the biggest risks is something Kansas farmers haven't really had to deal with – until now.
The American Farm Bureau Federation says feral hogs are responsible for $190 million in crop losses every year, and now, they might be here.
"It's just phenomenal what kind of a terrible situation they can produce for a farmer," said Larry Steckline.
Farming has been in Steckline's blood for generations, so he knows better than most that there's an endless list of adversities farmers have to overcome to make it.
Now, you might have to add feral hogs to that list in Kansas.
"They can clean out a wheat field, like 40 - 50 acres, like you had a disc in there and worked it up," said Steckline.
Steckline's granddaughter runs a farm in Oklahoma. Last week, she sent him a picture of a huge group of feral hogs on her land. Not long after, she woke up to her wheat field ruined as far as the eye could see.
"That is wheat, not growing, but rooted up, laying on top of the ground dying after they were in there," said Steckline, showing us the photos.
Just days later, Steckline couldn't believe what he saw on the Garden Plain Police Department's Facebook page, a couple of miles from his farm.
"We've never seen it before here. I mean, this is the first time. Big deal. It's a big deal," said Steckline.
Garden Plain police say there are multiple reports of the hogs in about a 5-mile radius from Cheney to 295th street. It says a USDA agent and biologist are working to confirm these are feral hogs, but no matter what, Steckline says there's not much time.
"They increase in numbers unbelievably fast," he said. "We have to be on top of it right now. You can't wait very long because these things multiply so fast."
The big question is, what can you do? Steckline says that's where it gets frustrating. He says this year, the state decided not to allow any feral hog hunting. Even if you see one on your own property, he says you can't shoot it without getting a permit first.
Steckline says he plans to call everyone he knows in Topeka to urge them to find a solution.