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Two Extension agents stand in a pasture with a goat herd

*This is an excerpt from The Urban Difference: Report 2020

Using goats to clear understory or overgrowth vegetation can improve animal health, reduce fire hazards in forestland, and restore balance to endangered habitats. 

Goats eating from a trough in a pasture.

Goats at AAMU’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station.

Small Ruminant Program: Goats in the City & Forestlands

In 2020, there were approximately 40,000 goats in Alabama. Goats provide meat, milk, fiber, and extra income for producers. As browsers, goats are also used to clear overgrown plants, including trees, shrubs, pesky weeds, and invasive plant species that are harmful to natural habitats. Alabama Extension at AAMU’s Small Ruminant Program encourages landowners to consider owning goats for that specific reason.

Over the past year, a research demonstration site was established at Alabama A&M University’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station in Hazel Green to educate landowners and small ruminant producers about the benefits of integrating goat production with forestland management or to clear understory and overgrown vegetation in urban areas where fire burning is not allowed. Three webinars and a virtual field tour were conducted. Participants were surveyed after each session, revealing that among 169 participants, 135 (80%) were influenced to raise goats on their property, and 152 (90%) indicated their willingness to implement goat and forestland practices.

Visit www.aces.edu/go/MeatGoatProject for more information regarding this project.


View other excerpts from The Urban Difference: Report 2020 here. 


Author & Editor, Wendi Williams, Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Alabama A&M University. Design/layout, Shannon Schoeneweiss, Technology Media Coordinator, Alabama A&M University.

New November 2021, The Urban Difference: Report 2020, UNP-2184


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 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.

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