Get Your Goat

Here in America everybody is bitten by the entrepreneurial bug sooner or later. We hate kowtowing, whether it be to a tyrannical monarch or the boss. That’s who we are.

But it’s scary going out on your own. Sure, I have skills that people pay me cash money for as a freelancer, but to make that a full time job? It’s intimidating.

Until you find that great idea.

In this case it came in a NY Times article about eradicating phragmites, an invasive wetland grass that has taken over a Staten Island park. The solution? Goats. And where do you get goats? You rent them.

goat at the Fonda Fair

It turns out that the goat owner is getting $20,625 to provide 20 goats for six weeks of work. The goats eat the grass and the goat owner collects his earnings. It all sounds so simple.

The only problem may be the goats.

I met a British expat named Graham in Transylvania. He and his Romanian wife were creating a tourist destination in their small village, a place where people could have an authentic countryside experience. Over shots of his homemade brandy, we discussed the livestock behind their house. Why no goats?

“Sheep are simple to care for, but goats?” Graham explained. “Goats are a problem. They are mischievous, they get into trouble, they escape their enclosure… goats are anarchists.”

So that presents a question:  do you trade life as a wage slave just to become a boss yourself — and have a bunch of anarchists for employees?

7 thoughts on “Get Your Goat

  1. One of my former co-workers from Claverack decided he would become a part-time goat herder. He vastly underestimated the intelligence of his 10 goats. There was no fence (electric or not) that could effectively hold the critters, no gate they could not master in a matter of hours. After a couple months, he sold off the 8 he could still hold onto. Of the two he could not find, he’s pretty sure one lives behind or near the Martindale diner off the Taconic. He figures it will eventually go down during deer season, when someone from downstate will harvest it as ‘weird-eyed Bambi’.

    1. It’s easy to see why people are enchanted by the idea of keeping goats. They’re more charming than most farm animals — and all that personality just means trouble. It must also make it harder to give them up for sale, especially if they’re going to be eaten. I’d be a lousy farmer…

  2. I love the idea of having a small goat farm. Like puppies they seem like they can get in a lot of trouble, but it still is an appealing notion. Plus unlimited goat cheese – I mean, come on. Talk about a dream job. It might be hard work, but what could be more satisfying?

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