Town of Tryon Project

On 11/5/12, PAC received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation’s  Kudzu Eradication Initiative!

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) recently received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation Unrestricted Fund – Kudzu Eradication Initiative, for Kudzu eradication on the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA. The grant will fund the use of goats to help eradicate Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) on the site, twice a year, for three years.

Kudzu Eating Goats Return to Trade Street

The 2-acre Town of Tryon lot has been pretty quiet for the past several months, but after being away for nearly 9 months, the goats returned on July 7th to eat up the Kudzu that has regrown on the site.

Wells Farm delivered the goats and a guard dog, Zeke, to the site. This is a continuation of the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.

History of the project:

In preparation for the arrival of the goats sometime in June, PAC began preliminary work at the site on Jan. 24, 2013.  A group of volunteers from PAC and the Gillette Woods Association “Irregulars,” Steve King, Dave Mullen, Ken Weitzen, Austin Chapman, Joe Habenicht, Alan Leonard, and Jim Schaefer, joined PAC’s Land Protection Specialist, Pam Torlina, to cut down large Chinese Privet shrubs that have taken over the site. Work Crew 1-24-13On Jan. 24, 2013, volunteers from PAC and the Gillette Woods Association “Irregulars,” (from left to right) Alan Leonard, Austin Chapman, Ken Weitzen, Joe Habenicht, Jim Schaefer, Dave Mullen, and Steve King, met to cut down large Chinese Privet shrubs, and other non-native and invasive species, that have taken over the 2 acre Town of Tryon site. (photo by Pam Torlina)

Although the goats will eat Privet, it has gotten so tall that the goats will only be able to reach part way up the shrub, and the tops of the Privet will continue to photosynthesize, feeding the roots, and allowing the plants to persist.  We hope that by cutting down the Privet, the goats will eat the new growth that will sprout up from the stumps, ultimately starving the plant.

The crew also cut numerous Kudzu vines, many of which are climbing up the large trees on the site and out of reach of the goats.  Other non-native and invasive plants that were cut back on the site include Multiflora Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle, and Tree of Heaven.  The group also started hauling away trash that has accumulated on the site.

1/24/13 – the first work day:

Before After

 

Before After

Since the initial work day in January, PAC volunteers visited the site a total of 8 days, and at least 60 man-hours were spent manually cutting Kudzu, Privet, Mahonia, and other non-native and invasive species in preparation for the arrival of the goats.

Here’s what the site looked like on June 12th:

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Later, on June 12, 2013, Wells Farm delivered 25 Kiko (from New Zealand) X Boer (from South Africa) goats to the site, where they will live and eat Kudzu, for the next month!

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The goats are joined by Reba, an Anatolian Shepherd, who is at the site to protect the goats.

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Several members of the community came out to the site to witness the release of the goats into their new 2-acre home, including Emily Pace from Channel 7 News and Gwynn Ring from the Tryon Daily Bulletin, who showed up to do a story on the release of the goats!

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Click here to see the Channel 7 News coverage.

Click here to look at some still images from channel 7’s visit.

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Click here to read the TDB article.

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Thanks also to TJ’s restaurant for use of an outlet for the fence, to the Sign Shop for quick work on the sign, to John Vining of the NC Cooperative Extension for Polk Co., to Ron and Cheryl Searcy of Wells Farms, the Town of Tryon, Re/Max for a brochure box, and the Polk County Community Foundation (who provided funding for the project through a Kudzu Eradication Initiative grant)!

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6/17/13 – The progress after 5 days on the job:

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Then, on June 18, 2013, WLOS came to do a story, click here to see the coverage.


* Please note, there was an error in the facts of the story! 

Sorry for any confusion, the cost of the project is not $12,000 a month…it’s actually approximately $3,000 per year; $9,000 for the 3-year project. This includes the transport of the goats, to and from the site, twice a year, erection and removal of the fence, and Wells Farm cares for the animal (including vetting) and assumes responsibility if anything unforeseen should happen to the animals.

Also, this project was funded by a GRANT from the Polk County Community Foundation, not through tax payer dollars.

Click here to read the 6/26/13 article in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, correcting this error.


6/21/13 – the progress after 8 days on the job:

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On July 6, 2013, the goats were removed from the site.  After just three weeks and two days, the goats did a wonderful job combating Kudzu at the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot!  Wells Farm has moved the goats to another site to continue combating Kudzu and the other non-native and invasive species that thrive in the southeast!  We look forward to their return this fall!

The site on June 12th, the day the goats arrived:

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The site on July 6th, 2013, after just 3 weeks and 2 days!  Great job goats!

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On July 8, 2013, WSPA channel 7 news wrote an update on the story, click here to see the link.


On July 10, 2013, WSPA channel 7 news did an update to the story, with photos, click here to see the link.


On July 16, 2013, PAC’s Pam Torlina spent nearly 3 hours picking up trash that was revealed by the goats at the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot.

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On 10/1/13, the goats returned to the 2-acre lot for fall grazing.

Wells Farm delivered 20 goats, as well as Samantha, the Anatolian Shepard guard dog.  The goats will be on site for 10-14 days to eat the Kudzu and other non-native and invasive species that have regrown on the site.  This is the second round of goat-powered “treatment” on the site, and the grant from Polk County Community Foundation will fund two more visits by the goats, per year, for two more years. 

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What the site looked like before releasing the goats this second time.

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The goats (and Samantha, the dog (her tail shows in the front, center of the frame)) awaiting release into the 2-acre lot.

IMG_4448Ron Searcy of Wells Farm watching the goats as they enter the project site.

IMG_4449The goats and Samantha, the guard dog, getting used to their new, temporary home.

IMG_4452The goats don’t take any time getting right to work on the non-native and invasive plants! (Here, Chinese Privet)

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IMG_4464The goats eating up the new Kudzu growth on the site!  Go goaties!


October 10, 2013, the goats are already hard at work!

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On Saturday, October 12, 2013, PAC’s Pam Torlina, Polk County Extension agent, John Vining, and PCHS senior, Will Ballard hosted an Educational Field Day at the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot.

The group was on site to talk with the public about Pacolet Area Conservancy’s “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.

Several people showed up to see the progress that the goats have made and to learn more about the 3-year project.

It was a beautiful day, and we appreciate the communities support of this project!

PAC would like to thank John Vining and Will Ballard for partnering with us to educate the public about this great project, and to the Town of Tryon and the Polk County Community Foundation for partnering with us to make this project happen. PAC would also like to thank TJ’s restaurant, for supplying the electricity for the fence, once again.

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October 15th, Wells Farm is getting ready to move out the goats.  They added a few fences, creating a corral, and letting the goats get used to the new fences before trying to load them up on the 17th.

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July 8th, 2014, Wells Farm brought in a new crew of 20 goats to the site, accompanied by Zeke, an Anatolian Shepard there to protect the goats.  This is the second year of the 3-year project, and there was a noticeable change in the growth of the Kudzu at the site after the first year!

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Can’t wait to see what this area will look like after a few weeks with goats!

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Meet the new 2014 summer crew! Already hard at work!

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Goats, hard workin’ critters! ; )

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Meet Zeke!

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Can’t wait to see what this looks like in a few weeks!

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Silly kids!

IMG_1974 IMG_1977 IMG_1978 IMG_1984 IMG_1985 IMG_1991 IMG_1992 IMG_2003IMG_2007Click here to print an information page about this project


July 16, 2014 – What a difference a week makes!

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On August 5, 2014, Wells Farm removed the goats and guard dog, Zeke, from the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot. In one month, 20 goats were able to eat away the Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) from the site! The pictures speak for themselves.

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The goats will be returned sometime around the beginning of October to nibble on any new growth. Then, they will return for the final year of the project, in 2015, in both the summer and fall.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project is funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund and done in partnership with the Town of Tryon and the NC Cooperative Extension for Polk County.

PAC would like to thank TJ’s restaurant, for supplying the electricity for the fence, and Remaxx for the loan of the “information box,” once again.


On September 6th, 2014, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Upstate South Carolina Geocachers Association (USCGA) partnered for a Cache In Trash Out (CITO; a “trash pickup”) at the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA.

After the goats completed their “summer work” in August, a lot of trash was revealed on the site. Therefore, we are so grateful to the sixteen volunteers that showed up to pickup trash from the lot! It should be a much safer environment for the goats when they return and certainly much more beautiful for everyone driving, walking, or biking by.

Special thanks to Tom Walton of USCGA for arranging the CITO with PAC’s Pam Torlina and to the following volunteers: Travis Brucke, Leslie Brooks, Barb Sherwood, Albert NG, Robert Sherwood, Kerry Easler, Larry Easler, Matthew Waddell, Kay Poteat, Carroll Poteat, Diana Hormell, Walter Hormell, Gerald Vanlandingham, Erica Vanlandingham, Elizabeth Vanlandingham, and Gabriel Vanlandingham.

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September 29, 2014 – Goats return to the Town of Tryon lot near IGA! Through a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has hired goats to help eradicate Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the site, twice a year, for three years; this is the second year. On Sept. 29, Wells Farm brought in a new crew of 20 goats, accompanied by Moses, an Anatolian Shepard there to protect the goats. The goats will be on site for about two weeks.

(Thanks again to TJ’s restaurant for supplying electricity to the fence to protect the goats!)

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Meet Moses, the Anatolian Shepard on duty to protect the goats!

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October 20, 2014, the goats finished their work for the year at the Town of Tryon lot near IGA.

Wells Farm removed the goats and Moses that day…the goats did their job and were running out of food (Kudzu to eat)! Thank goodness! They’re making an impact on the property, and we look forward to their arrival again next summer!

As always, PAC would like to thank the Town of Tryon and the NC Cooperative Extension for Polk County for partnering with us on this project, as well as the Polk County Community Foundation for funding this project. And of course, TJ’s for supplying power to the electric fence, keeping the goats and dog safe, and RE/MAX for the loan of the brochure /information box.

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June 18, 2015, the goats have returned to the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA!

Wells Farm delivered 20 goats and a guard dog, Reba, to the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot this morning!

The Pacolet Area Conservancy, in partnership with the Town of Tryon and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation through their Kudzu Eradication Initiative to use goats to eradicate Kudzu from this site, twice a year for three years. This is the third, and final, year of the grant funding the use of goats to eradicate Kudzu from the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA. The goats will be here for about a month, then return for a final visit in the fall.

Thanks to Wells Farm for bringing such a dedicated crew to the site, thanks to TJ’s restaurant for supplying power to the goat fence, and special thanks to PCCF for making this happen!

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July 9, 2015 Wells Farm removed the goats from the 2-acre Town of Tryon site; they did their work for the summer and will return for one last effort this fall.

July goats before and after

On Tuesday, September 22, 2015, Wells Farm delivered a crew of 19 Kiko goats – as well as Moses, an Anatolian Shepard – to the Town of Tryon lot near IGA.

The goats have been working to eradicate Kudzu from the site twice a year, for three consecutive years, and this is their final visit to the property. They will be working on the site for about two weeks.

This project has been made possible by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation through their Kudzu Eradication Initiative.

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September 29, 2015, after one week on the job, there is a noticeable reduction in Kudzu foliage at the Town lot in Tryon!

PAC is holding an Educational Field Day on Saturday, October 3, from 10-12 if you’d like to come down to the site and learn a little bit more about the “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats” project!

This project has been made possible by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation through their Kudzu Eradication Initiative.

Before and after-Fall 2015


On Saturday, October 3, 2015, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) hosted a free Educational Field Day to discuss the use of goats to eradicate Kudzu.  The Field Day event was open to the public and took place at the Town of Tryon lot near IGA at 10 a.m. Despite the affects of hurricane Joaquin, Landrum High School student, Jade Blakey, was on site with PAC Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, to discuss the 3-year “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project, the pros and cons to utilizing goats to combat Kudzu, and the importance of eradicating non-native and invasive species from the landscape in order to allow our native species room to grow and thrive.  The Kudzu Eradication project has been funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.
IMG_2276LHS student, Jade Blakey, at the 10/3/15 Educational Field Day event.


On October 7, 2015, Wells Farm removed the crew of 19 Kiko goats – as well as Moses, an Anatolian Shepard – from the Town of Tryon lot, near IGA, for the final time.The goats have been working to eradicate Kudzu from the site twice a year, for three consecutive years.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation through their Kudzu Eradication Initiative.


October 7, 2015 the goats (and Moses) were removed from the Town of Tryon lot (near IGA) for the last time.

The ‘kids’ did an excellent job controlling Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the site over the past 3-years, and they provided a lot of joy and entertainment for the community!

PAC would like to thank the Polk County Community Foundation for the grant that funded the project, as well as the partnership with the Town of Tryon and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Also, thank you to Wells Farm, TJ’s Restaurant for providing electricity to the fence that kept the goats safe, Re/Max for donating the information box, and the wonderful volunteers that have helped us at the site over the last several years.

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Before the goats arrival in the spring of 2013 and after their departure in fall of 2015

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Before the goats arrival in the fall of 2015 and after their departure in fall of 2015

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Click here to read an article from USAToday on 8/15/13, “Armed to teeth, goats keep weeds in check across U.S.” about how goats are being used as a sustainable alternative to using chemicals.


Tom Toles cartoon

Click here to see Tom Toles comic about “weed eating goats” from the New York Times, 8/9/13.


Why goats?

Goats Are Versatile:

Goats can be used effectively in almost any location or terrain type, especially in terrain too rocky or steep for human or machine clearing.  Goat cleared areas are significantly more attractive.

Goats Are Cost Effective:

Goats are one of the most cost effective brush and weed abatement resources per contracted area.

Goats Are Environmentally Safe:

Goats are an environmentally friendly method for clearing areas containing invasive vegetation.  Thinning by goats is a natural method resulting in a naturally balanced environment over the long term.

Less Noise:

Goats are far less intrusive than mechanical clearing tools.  Which would you rather hear…?  The loud noise of heavy equipment, or the quiet grazing of goats?

Goats Do A Good Job:

In exchange for modest fees, goats will not only clear large areas of brush and weeds, but they will also fertilize and till!  The animals will be let loose on the land, once fence installation has been completed.  Goats can easily clear slopes heavy with invading weeds into an area where native species have the opportunity to become reestablished.

Join the effort to eradicate this highly invasive weed from our community! It all starts with YOU! The eradication of Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) from our community can be done anywhere and started any time–the sooner the better!  But, if we sit idly by, doing nothing, this and other non-native species will slowly (or rapidly!) out compete our beautiful and ecologically important native species which add the diversity that all of us have come to love in Southern Appalachia! Please contact PAC if you are interested in learning more about non-native and invasive species!

Goats provided by:

wells farm logo

Wells Farm
Horse Shoe, NC  28742
Phone: (828)877-5109
Website:  www.wellsfarmgoats.com

This project is a partnership between:

the Town of Tryon, the Pacolet Area Conservancy, the NC Cooperative Extension of Polk County, and the Polk County Community Foundation.

Town of Tryon Logo PAC Logo-color NC Ext logo  PCCF_logoFINAL


Click here and here to read the Channel 7 news publicity from the 2008 project at the site.