Pesticides Board Member Written Up For Her Pesticide-Free Weed Control
(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2006) Yesterday the Jackson Hole Star Tribune published an article about Beyond Pesticides board member Lani Malmberg and her goat based weed control business. Ms. Malmberg has a heard of over 1,000 goats that she takes upon request to places in need of weed management, brush control, re-seeding and restoration, erosion mitigation or flood control. The goats provide a natural and more effective alternative to chemical pesticides.
Ms. Malmberg explains in the article that goats work so well at weed management because, unlike cows and horses, they prefer to eat weeds and leave grass alone. Not only do the goats eat weeds, but they also chew and digest so thoroughly that only a minuscule percentage of the seeds are able to germinate after passing through their digestive tract. Eating the weeds is only one benefit, however. The excrement that they later release becomes a rich fertilizer that is ground into the soil as they walk over it. Their sharp hooves work to aerate and till the land, leaving the soil in prime shape.
Ms. Malmberg became interested in goats as a graduate student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. While completing her master’s degree she studied the use of goats for environmentally friendly, chemical-free land restoration. In 1997 she bought her first goats and has been grazing them for non-toxic land care since.
One of Ms. Malmberg’s biggest success stories is Cheyenne, Wyoming where she was hired 6 years ago to manage the city’s leafy spurge problem. Cheyenne had an infestation of leafy spurge on the banks of two streams that ran through the city. Federal regulations prohibit the buildup of weeds and brush on the streams, because they can cause flooding by clogging drains in high water. The city tried various methods of weed control including pesticides, but none worked. Since Ms. Malmberg has brought in her goats the results have been dramatic. According to the article in the Tribune, “The stand of leafy spurge has been reduced by about 50 percent, and it would be closer to 75 percent if spurge on the F.E. Warren Air Base, upstream of Cheyenne on Crow Creek, didn't cause an annual reinfestation.”
Ms. Malmberg continues to use her goats to create similar successes stories throughout cities, towns, and countrysides in the Wyoming and Colorado area. Her work continues to be an inspirational example for us all.