Is Goat Brush Clearing a viable business for small farmers in Central Indiana?

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $14,995.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Prairie Hills Farm LLC
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Sylvester Friend
Prairie Hills Farm LLC


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

The cost of ownership of goat has increased by about 60% since
2020, when the pandemic occurred and inflation increased
significantly along with several years of drought putting
additional pressures on hay demand and pricing. In this project,
we will explore the feasibility of reducing the cost of goat
livestock ownership, by introducing a goat brush clearing service
to increase revenue to mitigate these increasing costs.

Small meat goat herders, with herd sizes around 80 - 120 goats,
have been looking for a viable solution to add revenue generating
services to supplement a farms meat goat operation. This project
will research if adding a brush clearing service is a viable
solution for small scale goat farms.

Project objectives from proposal:


In our research we are wanting to see if goat brush clearing is a
viable resource to increase revenue for the small farmer in
Central Indiana. 

Traditionally, brush clearing is performed using heavy equipment
like tractors, skid steer, etc and rely on the use of carbon
fueled vehicles. The solution we have would be to introduce goats
to the area for a more sustainable, regenerative and efficient
way of brush clearing. In order to reduce the use heavy
equipment, nonrenewable resources, and hours of human labor
needed for various jobs.  

Materials / Equipment needed for the solution:

In addition to the goats that will perform the actual brush
clearing there are other materials and resources needed. Some of
these supporting materials or resources are a livestock trailer,
a portable electric fence system, fencing material, hay, food and
water containers, PPE such as gloves and closed toed shoes, and
hand tools such as hammer, screw drivers, and portable power
tools. Most of the materials and equipment needed are already
acquired and in possession with the exception of a livestock
trailer, to met the capacity of the herd that will need to be
transported, and portable electric fencing. With these materials
the brush clearing service will be able to be flexible and adjust
to varying sized jobs.

Method of Sustainable Practice:

The handler of the goats will measure the size of the lot and
create a brush clearing layout plan. The portable fencing will be
setup prior to introducing goats into the area that needs to be
cleared. While the goats are performing the brush clearing
assignment, they will be rotated through the areas sequentially
to clear the brush in a systematic fashion. The size of the land
needing to be clear will provide a reference for the size of the
paddock created to promote high density grazing.


  1. Identify if there is a demand or appetite for brush clearing
    using goats in residential, commercial, and municipal locations.
  2. To learn if goat clearing can bring in revenue for the small
    scale farmer to be able to off set the cost of livestock.
  3. Evaluate the rate of brush clearing by goats.
  4. Share our findings with other farmers and ag professionals
    via, social media, field days and other farm related workshops
    and events.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.