You could say this entrepreneur is the “digestion-rental” business. His company clears away weeds and unwanted vegetation – using goats. Hundreds of them! The pesticide-free success story of Vegetation Solutions.
In 2008, 23-year old Wisconsinite Ben Robel got himself some goats and decided on a different kind of livelihood. He wanted to give up 9 to 5. But now, he says he’s doing 24/7.
Robel created Vegetation Solutions – a business that rents out goats to clear fields or eat away invasive plant species. It’s literally a growing field, and it’s becoming popular in the Midwest.
Why mess with toxic herbicides when you can go green and watch goats eat away your garlic mustard? It turns out goats will eat anything. Well, not literally anything. They don’t care much for grass or walnut trees – but almost everything else is fair game. And they eat everything from Buckthorn to Thistle.
The reason, says Robel, is that goats have a large liver that lets them better tolerate toxins. So they can enjoy wide variety of trees and shrubs – including dogwood, blackberry, elm, basswood, honeysuckle and prickly ash. Plus invasive weeds such as garlic mustard and wild parsnip.
In fact they chomp down 5% of their body weight every day! And goats are great employees too. They’re quiet, they go where machines can’t go, and they don’t call in sick!
Robel’s all-green business is focused on natural vegetation management through controlled grazing, and customers range from private landowners to government agencies to utility companies.
Customers love watching his goats clear their land — one mouthful at a time. A herd of 23 goats can clear about 5 acres in a week! And Robel barely keeps up with demand. In five years he’s gone from two goats to 150. He also rents out Katahdin sheep and lambs as well.
Recently the Justin Trails Resort in Sparta, WI hired Robel’s employees to clear unwanted vegetation from its 208 acre property. The goats did their job well, as their 28-year-old boss strategically herded them from sector to sector, using yards of flexible, solar-powered electric fencing. Since Justin Trails is certified organic, Robel’s all-natural methods fit the resort’s needs perfectly. So did the manure his employees left behind when the job was done.
Ben Robel exemplifies a Why Didn’t I Think of That?® Axiom: Think Unique. Go intentionally against the grain.
Vegetation Solutions: Better Living through goat rentals.
Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?