Goats for hire to clear brush ahead of fire season

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I was watching the evening news last week, ABC News 10 KGTV, and they had a segment on goats clearing large amounts of thick brush in San Diego County. This particular story dealt with Environmental Land Management (ELM), which much to my surprise has been doing “brush control” since 1999. I thought this was a novel but ingenious idea. Goats have hearty stomachs and will eat everything in sight. They are also so versatile that they can manage any type of terrain. It makes perfect sense.

I was watching the evening news last week, ABC News 10 KGTV, and they had a segment on goats clearing large amounts of thick brush in San Diego County. This particular story dealt with Environmental Land Management (ELM), which much to my surprise has been doing “brush control” since 1999. I thought this was a novel but ingenious idea. Goats have hearty stomachs and will eat everything in sight. They are also so versatile that they can manage any type of terrain. It makes perfect sense.

After all our winter rains, everything is green and beautiful, but we have to remember that it will not stay that way long and under all the lush green are years of dry, dead fire materials. So now is the time to start thinking about clearing the areas around your property. Goats, unlike people are much more effective in clearing all the brush and considered one of the most cost effective ways of brush and weed abatement. They fertilize the soil as they eat their way through your acres, stripping it down just enough where erosion from rains is not a problem.

ELM claims that a herd of goats can clear about an acre a day, and for large properties, several herds can clear several acres more quickly and quietly than manpower. Our new green land can very soon become a harsh fire hazard and it is imperative, especially in East County to start thinking ahead to fire season and taking measures to protect their homes, property and livestock. So why not use goats?

ELM works with all of our local fire districts, so if you want an opinion on how it really works, go to your local fire station and ask them about your property and if it is cost effective for the amount of land that you have to clear. ELM has an impressive list of state and county organizations and large businesses that have used its services, so it is worth your while taking a look at your to do lists and see what you need done and see if this is an opportunity that you should seize. In a short phone call I found out it has worked with Heartland Fire in Lemon Grove for four years now.

ELM has come up with a great business model that makes sense, both in idea and financially. It would also be a great program for our local colleges and high schools that work with 4-H and future farmers, teaching agricultural studies. These are just first thoughts I had while I was watching these goats eat away tons of debris, but I believe it is food for thought, or food for goats, whichever way you want to look at it.

For more information visit www.elmgoats.com.

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