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State Plans To Drop Fines Against Pig Farmer

Mangalitsa pig at a farm in McBain/Peter Payette
Peter Payette
Mangalitsa pig at a farm in McBain/Peter Payette

The state of Michigan plans to drop hefty fines against a McBain farmer for raising a prohibited species of hogs.

The farmer, on the other hand, says he prefers to keep the fight going.

Mark Baker slaughtered the last of his Russian boar-hybrid pigs in November.

Now, the state plans to drop a lawsuit against him carrying up to $700,000 dollars in penalties.

The Department of Natural Resources was concerned the pigs could add to a wild hog population if they broke out of their pens.

But Baker plans to press on, claiming the guidelines are too vague and too broad, says his lawyer Michelle Halley.

"As they apply them, virtually every pig in the state of Michigan would be illegal, so until we get some clarity on those issues, Mark has no way of knowing if his pigs are legal or not," Halley says.

A judge hears the state's motion to dismiss its suit today in Lake City.

The case is being watched by other farmers and owners of hunting preserves around the state.

The state is trying to eradicate Russian boars in the wild, and is fighting the farming of them, says DNR spokesman Ed Golder.

"The point of that is to protect natural resources in the state against this animal that can carry disease to domestic swine and do a lot of harm to natural resources," Golder says.