Business | Nation | Local | OPB News Blog

Did The Belmont Goats Start A National Trend?

OPB | Feb. 11, 2014 11:27 a.m. | Updated: March 31, 2014 8:09 a.m.

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Yesterday it was announced that the Belmont Goats have a new home in the SE Portland Lents neighborhood. And in the past year, many cities nationwide employed goats to clean up overgrown grass and weeds without heavy machinery nor pesticides.

Urban goats are popping up all over the nation, taking care of overgrown fields and weeds.

Urban goats are popping up all over the nation, taking care of overgrown fields and weeds.

Cassandra Profita / EarthFix

Paid in “room” and board, goats are taking over empty lots, overgrown fields and even helping to prevent wildfires a week at a time.

OPB reported last year about goats cleaning up a Portland schoolyard and even the famous home of the Belmont Goats was originally cleaned up by enlisted goats. They’re not picky as far as location — last summer, goats were set loose in part of D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery to clean up English ivy, poison ivy and kudzu.

Both Southern California and Colorado hired goats to take care of dry brush and foliage. This is particularly important to California after the region experienced an unseasonably early wildfire. One hundred goats were brought into Anaheim to clear six acres last month. The community of Littleton, Colorado put 500 goats from Wyoming to work last year, using money that would use on fire mitigation.

Airports have also seen the benefits of releasing a few hundred goats in sprawling fields around the tarmac. Last summer, both San Francisco Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport have jumped on the goat bandwagon, also to clean up properties during the dry seasons.

Each company cited paying a few thousand to reserve the goats, and some said that it was a cheaper and all over greener way of cleaning up unwanted growth.

Goat grazing isn’t a revolutionary idea, but it seems that the vacant Belmont lot popularized the idea of urban goats when the first herd was employed in 2010.

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