Got a weed problem? Call in the goats.

A novel new business has launched in the Billings area, and it's all about the goats. Groovy Grazers is the brainchild of partners Andy Cole and Morgan Prather. The couple owns a small acreage north of Laurel and they aim to help Montana property owners in the region discover a more natural, environmentally friendly form of weed control that utilizes a herd of goats.

Credit Morgan Prather, used with permission
Credit Morgan Prather, used with permission
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Goat grazing is becoming more mainstream in the US.

The World Economic Forum wrote a great piece about goat grazing back in 2018 and the concept has slowly been gaining steam around the US. One particular advantage for Montanans is that goats do a fantastic job of reducing potential wildfire fuel around houses and property. This scenario hit close to home for the founders of Groovy Grazers when the Clapper Flats fire in 2020 came dangerously close to their homestead.

Credit Morgan Prather, used with permission
Credit Morgan Prather, used with permission
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What inspired Groovy Grazers?

We caught up with Andy and Morgan earlier this week via phone and she explained that they've always had chickens and a couple of goats. When they considered adding more goats to their herd, they realized (like most farmers) that if an animal isn't contributing in some way, it's essentially a pet. And pets rarely pay for themselves.

They now have 14 goats, including two bucks, and three withers. Groovy Grazers chose Nigerian Dwarf goats, primarily for their friendly dispositions, and they're expecting baby goats (called kids) from four of the females this year.

G Unit and Sweetie smile and make faces for the camera. Credit Morgan Prather
G Unit and Sweetie smile and make faces for the camera. Credit Morgan Prather
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A personalized weed mediation plan for each customer.

Every overgrown property is unique, so Groovy Grazers customizes a goat grazing plan for each situation. Larger tracts of land with heavy growth will take longer for the goats to clear than a tiny 1/4 acre lot, for example. If properties lack necessary fencing, they'll use a temporary, solar-powered electric fence to keep the goats from wandering off. They deliver the goats to the location and come pick them up when the fleet of living lawnmowers is done.

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Goats in their pens
Credit Morgan Prather, used with permission
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It's not just about eating weeds for Groovy Grazers.

Goats are not that common around Montana, and Prather said they hope to educate more people about the benefits, drawbacks, and special health considerations for those considering purchasing a few goats for themselves. It does happen; one of their clients decided to purchase goats after witnessing how effective the herd was at managing grasses and weeds.

Eventually, they hope to offer petting-zoo-type opportunities for those who might need some goat therapy. Goats are smart, playful, (and somewhat goofy at times) and kids and adults are often drawn to the docile creatures. Another venue they're considering is creating products made from goat milk, like cheese. Prather is a military veteran and they'll offer discounts on goat grazing to Vets and Seniors. You can find more info and plenty of pictures on the Groovy Grazers Facebook page.

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