(KXNET) — Feral swine is a growing problem across our country, including North Dakota.

These wild pigs cause tremendous damage to agriculture, tearing apart pastures, eating crops, and harming livestock.

In Monday’s Eye on Ag and Energy, we look at what’s being done to stop the problem.

According to the USDA, since 1982, the feral swine population has more than doubled its area, even spreading to North Dakota. USDA agents have found wild pigs in Rolette County in recent years.

Field crops commonly targeted by feral swine include sugar cane, corn, and soybeans, a North Dakota staple.

Finding the swine can be difficult, but a lot of progress has been made thanks to advances in science.

“So E-DNA is Environmental DNA. So, we’re literally working with water samples that are coming in from the field. It’s kind of a fun process because we basically get to take something that everyone is familiar with a nice murky bottle of water and turn it into an extracted piece of DNA that we then look for feral swine in our case DNA in there,” said Biological Science Technician for USDA, Anna Mangan.

So what should you do if you encounter a feral pig in North Dakota?

According to Game & Fish, landowners or hunters who encounter feral pigs in North Dakota must notify the State Board of Animal Health immediately.

Shooting feral pigs is illegal in North Dakota unless a person is protecting property or livestock. Shooting can scare the pigs, which makes them more difficult to find later.