Alabama A&M Researching Goats as Lawnmowers, Food Source
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Shanaya Daughtrey
Tuscaloosa — An Alabama college is experimenting with using goats to mow down vegetation in urban areas. And then become food themselves.
On Aug.13, 2020, 53 meat goats arrived at Alabama A&M University‘s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station in Hazel Green. Their highly awaited arrival earmarked the next phase of the research project “Advantages of Using Forestland for Meat Goat Production.”
One of the project’s goals is increasing awareness of agroforestry’s economic, social and environmental benefits for farmers and forest landowners.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M Animal Scientists and Co-Principal Investigator Valens Niyigena, lead goat technician Darren Beacham and forestry researcher Kozma Naka are looking at educating goat producers on determining costs associated with producing goat meat with local forestland.
Before the goats arrived, Naka and his team of students took soil samples at WTARS and AAMU’s Agribition Center.
Once the animals were unloaded, they were weighed, tagged and checked for parasites before getting de-wormed. As the goats graze on the forest land, researchers will be checking for soil erosion and the cost required to raise the goats for meat, along with ways for improving soil fertility through carbon and nitrogen recycling.
If you’re interested in learning more about the project, click here.