When I was a kid I went to a petting zoo. I tried to feed the animals and a goat came up and started eating my denim skirt instead of the handful of goat food I was holding in my hand. I was very upset about the chewed up food that the goat left on my skirt. From that day forward I hated goats and skirts. My animosity towards goats subsided when I was in college. Many of the requirements to complete my Animal Sciences degree forced me to spend more time with farm animals than I had ever expected to. And mixed in with those farm animals were goats. My first semester I took Animal Sciences 101, which had a lab at the Universities barn. Later on I took Lamb Watch were I helped ewes in labor. In Anatomy we dissected a goat- but at least this once couldn’t eat my skirt. My feelings towards goats softened as time went on.
Then I learned that the demand for goat meat is growing in the United States. As more people of Middle Eastern dissent immigrate the amount of goat meat consumed annually is increasing. My dad says meat for a living, so I called him and explained what I thought he should start raising goats. The Florida climate would be suitable for them. I presented my case very clearly with statistics and all and he rejected my idea. I didn’t even bother pitching it to my mom. She does do farm animals and she would have made a joke about having to keep them in the pool.
While I have resigned myself to never actually raising goats- it’s a running joke between my dad and I. Last time I was home, I convinced my uncle, my dad’s brother that the goats were a great idea. My dad was still not sold.
Then today I was catching up on my Google Reader reading and I stumbled across an article from TreeHugger titled: Rent-a-Goat. The article talks about how people are using goats to clear land because they are browsers. There are rent a goat companies in Arizona and North Carolina.
So of course I called my dad and told him that goats were amazing and not only was the meat valuable but he could rent them out too! He then started talking about how it makes sense that people are renting out goats to eat excess brush … like I didn’t know. This time he even pretended to be interested. He said I could look into it. (Be careful what you wish for : ) )
Goats have many advantages:
They have a low impact on the environment due to their cloven hooves.
They are natural climbers and love steep slopes and uneven terrain.
They can go where machinery and other modes of brush removal are not allowed to go.
They are cost effective in many situations.
They are walking fertilizer factories.
People love the goats! They bring communities together and make people happy.