Publisher’s Perspective

By Tim Douglass, Publisher of the Pope County Tribune


The Buckthorn Brigade, a group of local volunteers, again this year have been working to remove buckthorn from Barsness Park.

The volunteers have also been busy cleaning up after the storms that hit the area in consecutive weeks.  High winds downed some tree branches in the park and there was plenty of work to be done to clear and clean up the walking and bike trails.

Last week, volunteers were out in force installing a fence to house goats once again this summer.  The goats were provided again by Bryan Simon of Lakeside Prairie Farm LLC of Barrett, Minn.

This summer, about 24 goats will join the volunteers in an effort to remove buckthorn from the park.  

Why Goats?

Some of the reasons for using goats to eliminate buckthorn, according to information provided by Goat Dispatch, owned by Jake and Amanda Langeslag and located in Faribault in south central Minnesota.  Goat Dispatch, like Lakeside Prairie Farm, is a company that specializes in land management/brush removal with the use of goats.

•They are Eco-Friendly. No heavy, noisy machinery is used and no chemicals.

•Goats naturally fertilize the ground as they eat and leave their droppings.

•As goats eat the brushy vegetation, it provides control of mosquitoes and wood ticks due to reductions in their habitat.

•Goats have narrow, strong mouths designed for stripping individual leaves and chewing branches.

•Goats can reach taller branches by standing on hind legs (sometimes reaching 6 feet or higher!) or climbing.

•Goats prefer broad-leafed plants so brush and invading field vegetation is eaten first while grass is normally left alone.

•Goats have special enzymes in their gut so they are able to eat plants that are poisonous to other animals.

•Through their grazing habits, goats reduce the production of seeds by consuming seeding stems, therefore invasive plant species such as buckthorn cannot sprout as the immature seeds consumed do not survive passage through the digestive tract.