Feral pigs

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have enough people out in the field to keep an eye on everything in nature, so it relies on hunters, hikers, anglers, and activists to report things that are out of the ordinary.

But there was a problem with the department’s method of getting that information: red tape. The DNR had 15 different observation forms.

But now, there's an app for that.

Peter Payette

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the state’s ban on Russian boar and other breeds of exotic swine.

Michigan banned several strains of boar as invasive species because they breed prolifically, endanger other wildlife, and ruin woods and farmland.

An Upper Peninsula hunting ranch sued, saying the state got it wrong – that the law is impossible to enforce because there’s little to no difference between strains of swine, especially when they escape into the wild.

Peter Payette

A circuit court judge in the Upper Peninsula says Michigan’s ban on wild hogs is unconstitutional. Judge Thomas Solka says there is no way for hog farmers to know whether the pigs they own violate the rule set up by the Department of Natural Resources.

Friday’s ruling is the first substantial opinion in a set of cases that sprang from a rule the DNR made in 2010. It declared certain breeds of pigs an invasive species.

Tom Carr

A judge ruled yesterday that a McBain farmer does not have to pay $700,000 for keeping a banned breed of hog.

But he and other farmers, some who packed the courtroom, worry it could happen again. That's because the decision did not address whether a Michigan invasive species law is fair or not.

Why Farm Russian Boar?

Mark Baker says he had good business reasons to start inter-breeding Russian boar with the pigs on his farm.

State Plans To Drop Fines Against Pig Farmer

Feb 26, 2014
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.

Feral Pig Ban: State Seeks $700,000 From Farmer

Jul 11, 2013

The state is asking a judge in Missaukee County to fine a Marion pig farmer $700,000 dollars.

“That’s a bigger fine than these great big, huge farms get for big environmental things that they do,” says Mark Baker. The farmer is suing the state over a ban on certain pigs. He says he has about 70 hogs now considered an invasive species. The state Department of Natural Resources wants the judge to fine Baker $10,000 dollars per animal.

Both parties are expected in court Friday.

Truth & Fiction About A State Pig Ban

Apr 19, 2012

For well more than a year, Interlochen Public Radio has been reporting on a possible ban in the state of Michigan of certain types of pigs. The ban passed and went into force April 1st.

The headlines for this story have never seemed sexy. But now that the ban is in place, a series of viral articles depict the state conservation officers as armed thugs raiding small farms.

The articles are full of misrepresentation and exaggeration. We're convinced at least one photo at the top of a story by Natural News is doctored.

The state says it has begun visiting farms suspected of having illegal pigs.

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources has banned certain species and it took full effect on Sunday. The DNR says it visited six farms Monday and found no feral swine.

The state has published a list of physical characteristics it uses to identify pigs. Wildlife officials say these kinds of pigs are an invasive species and a wild population would be very destructive in Michigan.

Farmers and ranchers have responded with a handful of lawsuits.