NAVASOTA, Texas — Like the sign says, "herds for hire."
The city of Navasota has hired some goats for a reason you may not expect.
Kyle Carr, Rent-A-Ruminant co-owner, says the idea for the operation came from his wife.
Needing to clean up their ranch, she saw came across this business from in Seattle.
They decided to bring this unique service to the Lone Star State and have been doing it for six years. Carr says these goats can clear anything six feet tall and under.
“They’re efficient and they’re made to this kind of work," he said. "They can really go after places where it’s tough for people to get into with machinery, even on foot with hand tools, steep slopes, they have no problem."
The company has a no slaughter policy and the goats must go through a training program before going to a site. Carr said this option is not only safer, but the grazing process also benefits the environment.
“Some of the things we’ve found, we’ve worked with many different parks and conservatizes over the years," he said. "Goats love invasives, things like poison ivy, green briar, those mustang grape leaves, things that kind of choke out trees, cause a lot of times we’re trying to help the trees stabilize."
That’s not it, Carr said. It’s cost effective for clients as well. Overall, he said the process is quick and quiet.
“Usually what we have been told is we are either between a half to a quarter cost of what it would take to have city employees come in here with machinery and remove the vegetation,” Carr said.
Bobbie Ullrich, Navasota's marketing and communications director, says this is one small part of the city’s hope to be environmentally friendly, utilize trails, and bring everyone closer together.
“When this came about and we found this particular company, we thought why not, let’s go for it and the owners are amazing to work with and we highly recommend them,” Ullrich said.
She said the city plans to have a larger effort - by humans to clean up the bigger pieces of debris afterwards. In the meantime, she encourages everyone to come see the goats in action.
“There’s no kidding around with these goats," she said. "They are just amazing creatures and if you sit here and watch them, it’s just really peaceful."
The company is growing. In 2020 there were roughly 120 goats brought in. This year, there are about 162. Carr says for Rent-A-Ruminant and the community, this is a win-win.
From the time of unloading to covering nearly seven city blocks, these goats will be hard at work for the next three weeks.