Clearing the Path

Technology has come a long way, which is the reason 207 goats munching on a vast variety of leaves and underbrush across from Corinth City Hall for eight days in November and December looked a bit odd. The location for the goats’ bountiful, four-acre salad bar was the future site of Corinth’s Commons at Agora Way.

The land is owned by Corinth and the plan is to turn it into a community park, where families can meet and play. “There will be an amphitheater for concerts,” Andrea Parker, engineering services coordinator, said.

“It will include a 1,000-foot stage, with thirty feet of concrete in front. There’s a beautiful creek, an abundance of trees, and walking paths. The natural setting is a perfect backdrop for a lawn and playground, an interactive water fountain, and concrete ping-pong tables. We plan to have a large piece of art as a centerpiece, where we can also put the city’s Christmas tree.”

George Marshall, City Engineer, picked up the narrative. “There will be a roof structure over the stage, designed to protect and to collect water. Food trucks will plug into water and electricity. The vision is for a long-term, durable, easily sustainable place for people to gather, eat, and shop. We’re confident it’ll become the nucleus for an economic development push.”
It sounds lovely. Relaxing. Even bucolic. But how do the goats fit in?

“We wanted to preserve the creek and the trees. We called in Dr. Moon, an arborist who’s been in business for 50 years. He recommended we use goats for the first phase of clearing,” Andrea said. “The cost is one-tenth of using heavy equipment, which would damage a great deal of the root system and possibly the creek.”

Goats use no gasoline and produce no fumes, and residents and their children could also enjoy watching them work! City Manager Bob Hart and other members of the city government accepted the idea enthusiastically. Corinth hired Quincy Crow’s Open Space TX, who contract with goat farmers/herders.
“We opened in March 2020 in Lewisville,” Crow said. “We do contract management and land development, as well as a great deal of playground installation. Many development areas are heavily wooded and overgrown, making goats perfect for the first clearing phase.

“Years ago, I had a big, shallow creek to clear. I hired a company, paid a lot of money, and the result was miserable. I found out about a California company called Rent a Ruminant, but they were
extremely expensive.

“I began talking with cattle ranchers, but they discouraged me. I later learned they didn’t like goats or any other grazers. I finally found a goat herder company with 400, happy, healthy goats that are made for clearing.

“They delivered electric fencing to the Corinth site. The goats train with the fencing; they actually smell it and seldom, if ever, get shocked. Then three trailers with 207 goats arrive. They squeeze into a small, fenced portion of the four acres. Then, while they eat, the team stretches fencing around another area. They methodically move from one area to the next. In addition to water, the goats receive a
vitamin/mineral supplement.

“A little Australian Shepherd dog lives in one of the trailers. He runs out if he sees something amiss with
the goats, takes care of the problem, and returns to the trailer.”

Poison ivy is a big problem in Texas. People trim it back, not realizing doing this stimulates growth. Poison ivy is a delicacy for goats. With mouths shaped like four fingers, the goats move into the underbrush and pick off the leaves, leaving the woody stems. This inhibits the growth of the plant, and it dies. Neat. Clean. Sustainable. Environmentally friendly.

The 207 goats arrived at the future Commons at Agora Way Sunday afternoon. They began eating at approximately 5:00 p.m. The following Sunday, 208 goats left the site. A baby was born during the week, with the mama supported by 206 close friends!

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