If you'll pardon the pun, I think this is a real growth industry: quite a few neglected properties right now, and I don't expect commercial real estate will recover for at least a few years.
"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men. They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
posted 10 years ago
There is a project in the Seattle area that uses goats to clean up green belts along the freeways. Last I heard it was a success.
I do a lot of volunteer work for the USFWS and also volunteer with people from the local Noxious Weed Board, Dept. of Natural Resources, etc. and I can tell you that if you can convince those land managers that goats (or other domestic creatures) can 1) do the job; 2) cost about the same as herbicides + humans + machines; and 3) do not create a significant liability (goats escape and eat neighbor's yard, cause accident on adjoining highway, get killed by wildlife, bring new noxious weed seeds to the site, etc. etc.), then there is a huge market for their services. I have brought the idea of goats to the land managers I work with several times and their response has been "well, I don't know, it seems like they would have to have a goatherd which would probably make it too expensive" or some such excuse, but I can tell what they are thinking is "I have never done that before, nobody I work with has done that before, I don't really want to go out on a limb and be the first!". So instead they bring in tractors, mowers, sprayers, employees, volunteers, etc. like they have always done. I can tell you that it is really hard to find volunteers to remove invasive plants such as blackberries, because it is no fun at all.
So if you can make the numbers work, I think there will be a big market for brush clearing by ruminants. Most of the agencies operate via grants, and quite often the people who get hired with grant money (e.g. to clear brush) help to write subsequent grant applications, thus ensuring their continued employment. I would guess too that grant-makers will be more and more interested in using non-chemical means of removing invasive plants.
If you're interested I can probably help you come up with a complete list of likely concerns that land managers have about using ruminants for removing invasives.
During World War I sheep were used to maintain the grass on the White House lawn. This reduced expenses and manpower, greatly needed during wartime. Have a look. Their wool was auctioned to raise money for the war effort.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.