Goats used to clean up refinery grounds

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RED WING, Minn. (FOX NEWS) – A group of goats descends on the grounds of the pine bend refinery in Minnesota.

Bringing with them an appetite for cleaning up brush in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Like the running of the bulls, 80 goats took off for that first bite that first munch of delicious buckthorn.

Keith Hill/ Goat Peak Ranch says: “they just eat. They’re little eating machines. That’s what they do from the time they’re able to chew.”

And they got right to work. An all you can eat buffet of buckthorn, poison ivy and thistle …everything they love that we hate.

Keith Hill/ Goat Peak Ranch says: ” then they’ll go along and they’ll starting eating all these little leaves off of here just like so..”

For this project, Flint Hills is partnered with Great River Greening to find an eco-friendly way to get rid of buckthorn on its refinery land.

The alternative to goats is power equipment or chemicals.

Wiley Buck/Great River Greening says: “we thought the goats were not only the best, but also one of the cheaper methods to do it.”

In just a couple of weeks, the area through here will look a lot different.

The brush will be thinned out and there will even be areas of dirt showing through, which is exactly what the goal is here.

Wiley Buck/Great River Greening says: “you won’t find any young trees in there. The buckthorn is so intense, so heavily shaded and steals all the nutrients out of the soil that the young trees don’t get a foothold. If we don’t do something we won’t regenerate the trees and it won’t be a forest.

In all, 120 goats are having a feast on the Flint Hills land. It’s all part of the company’s habitat restoration program.

Keith Hill/ Goat Peak Ranch says: “they’ll go around here hundreds of times before they get outta here (so kind of a method to their madness) it is…it’s really interesting to watch them because they don’t miss a whole lot.”

Using goats to clear out an area isn’t that common in the Midwest, but out west it’s been done for years, only there, the goats are working to prevent wildfires instead of wiping out invasive species.

Karen Scullin FOX Nine News.

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