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Saluda Community Land Trust fighting kudzu with goats

A goat munches away at kudzu vines at the Saluda water treatment plant. (photo by Mark Schmerling)

A goat munches away at kudzu vines at the Saluda water treatment plant. (photo by Mark Schmerling)

Chemical-free kudzu removal by human labor is effective, but time-consuming. When volunteers at Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) wanted to focus on other projects, it was time to call in the goats.

And they did, with 18 of the weed-eating critters temporarily feasting on kudzu and other undergrowth near Saluda’s water treatment plant on Pearson Falls Road.

Ron Searcy’s goats are in great demand for such assignments. Searcy, who owns Wells Farm in Horse Shoe, west of Hendersonville, has about 300 goats, which he rents out for natural management of unwanted plant growth.

“This is a dream come true,” exclaimed SCLT board member Nora Parks Anderson.

Anderson’s joy stemmed at least partly from the animals targeting the culprit quickly.

“They went straight to the kudzu first,” she reported.

SCLT board members have waited a long time for the goats’ heralded arrival. The four-legged weed-eaters made it to Saluda Monday, Sept. 16. They’ll be at the water treatment plant for about 10 days, returning to the site three more times over two years.

Anderson has been thinking about goats and weed control since she became aware of such practices 15-20 years ago.