Goats chowing down on "Kudzu Valley" in Spencer

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A herd of more than three dozen goats are munching and crunching their way to taking care of a big green problem one local community was facing.

The Rowan County town of Spencer and a land preservation trust needed land cleared for a park, so they took an option that is not only environmentally friendly, but much less expensive than other methods.

Armed to the teeth ever since they were kids, these goats have a mission.

"Man, there are 40 some goats out there and they just been eating that stuff to death," Ichabod Allison observed.

That's what's causing some drivers to make a ewe turn…40 goats are clearing land and saving nearly two dozen trees under attack from kudzu right off South Salisbury Avenue in Spencer.

Spencer Town Manager Larry Smith says it's a great way to clean out the invasive species.

"It's good for the environment, you save the spraying and everything that would come with trying to kill kudzu otherwise, all the chemicals," Smith told WBTV.  "It's going to be a big job, they'll stay out there for a number of weeks, there will be multiple treatments before we expect to see the ground cover actually get cleared."

The Land Trust is paying for this.  It will cost about $5000 for three treatments, and it's easy to already see the difference from this spot that the goats have been working just since Thursday

Ichabod Allison works at a nearby rest home and frequently takes his breaks just watching the goats clear the land and occasionally butt heads.

Neighbors like it too.

"They're usually hiding off in the wilderness where you can't see them but today they're out, you can see them, and I love watching them, I love nature and all of that and it's just wonderful that they are even here," said Carol Davidson, who lives right next to the lot. "I think it's wonderful, I think it is great."

Once the lot is cleared, it will become part of the Spencer Woods park.

The Land Trust helped the town win grants worth $400,000 to develop the park with trails, bridges, and platforms.

That will be quite an attraction in a couple of years, but for now, as you may have heard, all kidding aside, the attraction is the goats.

"Shoot, I was just amazed at how they are tearing that stuff up," Allison added.

In recent years goats have been used to clear land at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the Congressional Cemetery, and to clear brush out west to help prevent forest fires.