Minnesota city to unleash goats on invasive plants

FF Editor
Farm Forum

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota city has turned to a goat rental company to help get rid of invasive plants along the Mississippi River.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported that St. Paul will deploy 30 goats from Goat Dispatch to clean up fenced areas of parkland. They made their debut on May 1 at Indian Mounds Regional park and are expected to spend several months grazing on invasive plants in the area.

The company said goats are particularly suited to improving parkland because they prefer broadleaf plants and leave grass alone. They also eat the seedling stems of plants, so the seeds of invasive plants will be digested instead of sprouting. The city said they believe the goats are well-suited for the hilly terrain above the river downstream from downtown.

“Using goats to clear land and woody areas is much more cost effective than many traditional methods. The costs of clearing land by hand, equipment rental, labor, permits, and debris disposal can add up very quickly,” the company said on its website.

The city’s initial announcement didn’t address costs.

Other parks in nearby cities have used sheep and goats before to deal with unwanted plants.

Land improvement is part of the city’s 2013 Great River Passage plan, which aims to better connect the city with the waterway.