Fighting fire with goats: How Ventura Brush Goats uses fieldmargin to plan their grazing fire breaks

Fighting fire with goats: How Ventura Brush Goats uses fieldmargin to plan their grazing fire breaks

Ventura Brush Goats is a family owned vegetation management and ecological improvement service based in Ventura County, California. They graze fire-breaks and eliminate invasive brush while restoring natural fertility with a herd of goats and sheep. Essentially, you can hire a group of goats in the same way you would hire machinery or herbicide services. 

Because of their practicality, cost-effectiveness, ecological sustainability and downright fun, the family has become very passionate about working with livestock to clear brush and improve land!

From a small operation they have grown to build up a large herd and business, working on over 1000 acres across the whole region.  Owner Michael Leicht is also co-director of a not-for-profit called ‘The Community Supported Grazing Program’. An initiative of ‘The Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council’, the CSGP aims to map out a fire fuel reduction zone around the entire Ojai Valley and then implement rotational grazing to reduce fuels. The Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council hopes that it’s Community Supported Grazing Program will soon be a replicable model for other communities at risk of wildfire. 

“Fire stops where goats graze. Goats will happily munch through thick stands of thistles, poison oak, and other species that are difficult and expensive to remove by hand.  The goats ability to traverse steep terrain mean they are a brilliant natural solution to protecting a property from wildfire.”

Because sheep and goats don’t disturb the soil as a tractor would, goats do not put carbon into the atmosphere or cause the extreme erosion that goes hand in hand with roto-tilling or disking. Click here to view before and after shots of the goats at work! 

Ventura Brush Goats have been using fieldmargin to map out areas that have been grazed and that need grazing.  Polygons are mapped out at client’s locations and these can then easily be shared with clients. Field uses on fieldmargin are used to mark out target-areas and areas-grazed. 

“Fieldmargin has made our mapping quick and easy to access. We have found the app a lot more user friendly than other software we have used previously. I can be out in the field and I can map on my phone with a high degree of accuracy.”

Michael uses fieldmargin to directly provide quotes and mapping data to clients. He does this by sharing the area that he has mapped out on his phone.

“So convenient to just screen shot fieldmargin and then send it off. The maps can also be shared with other interested parties such as the fire station and community groups.“

The company and the grazing community use Field Health imagery to monitor vegetation growth in the area.  The Ojai Valley Community Supported Grazing Program maps out areas of the Valley that are at high fire risk. 

“We have created a giant parcel, which is a polygon of the at risk area.“

The Ventura Brush Goats company is based in the Ventura Valley in California. Click this link to read more about their company. 

Interested in using fieldmargin for your land project, consultancy or farm operation? Click here to book a 15 min introduction call.

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