Natural Areas Agriculture & The Hazelton Brush Goats Home
Natural Areas Agriculture is the use of commercial agriculture solely as a means to achieve ecological objectives related to natural areas management / ecological restoration.
Farmers and land managers have long understood that grazing animals impact the plant community upon which they graze. Additionally, it is well understood that managed grazing (i.e. altering stocking rate, type of livestock, timing and duration of grazing) can be used to achieve specific ecological results.
In our work to manage natural communities in the Midwest, we are continually battling invasive plants and the brushy results of fire suppression. Goats, unlike cattle and other livestock, will happily eat anything that resembles vegetation. Yes... they happily eat Multiflora Rose, Canada Thistle, Red Cedar, etc. This makes a managed goat herd a perfect addition to our natural areas management team.
It works like this... you and a DLS ecologist ascertain that you have undesirable vegetation. Our herd manager installs temporary infrastructure (solar-powered electric fencing, watering facility, temporary shelter) and delivers the goats. The goats ascertain that you have desirable, even tasty, vegetation. They eat it.
By using rotational grazing we can harness the goat's natural brush-eating instincts to maximize ecological impact while minimizing undesirable impacts. Especially exciting is the goat's willingness and efficiency on terrain where hand labor is the only other option.
Midwest Woodlands & Prairies Article