The Town of Thomaston has rented 12 goats for the next month from Terra Optima Farms located in Appleton to assist in clearing the grass at the Solar Array.

Terra Optima Farms Owner, Cheryl Denz, said the goats are “the most efficient, fun brush eaters. Ever. No complaints about the weather, they eat in rain and heat, and don’t mind bugs. They take to the task of annihilating unwanted growth including poison ivy and the invasive Japanese Knotweed.”

This past year, the Solar Array went live on the power grid providing approximately 85% of the Town’s electricity through 1,290 solar panels located on town property at the Pollution Control Department.

From left: Tax Collector Donna Culbertson, Town Clerk Missy Stevens, Pollution Control Superintendent John Fancy, and Town Manager Kara George.

Denz said, “The Thomaston solar array is a perfect area for the goats. It is securely fenced, with access to water and has an excellent caretaker in Pollution Control Superintendent John Fancy. The goats provide a green method of removing greenery. In the case of the solar array, it would present difficulties for commercial mowing equipment to move around without risk to the panels. Those little goats easily fit in between and under all the obstacles inside the enclosure.”

The small goats are mixed breeds of Nubian, LaMancha, and Alpines crossed with Nigerian goats to bring the larger goat breeds down to a more manageable size. The first goats brought to Terra Optima Farms as bottle babies from the former Appleton Creamery are males Pan, Peanut, Percy, and Pogo. There is one full-size female Nubian in the group named Jammer. The rest of the herd are named Genevieve, Sequoia, Feathers, Pandora, Petunia, Delia, and finally, Frankie, the black Nigerian rescue goat.

Denz further notes, “Our goats are very much acquainted with the public. My farm hosts many school field trips, and the wee goats are very popular. They love the attention they’ve been getting since their move to Thomaston! I love that the goats have a purpose that benefits the community. They’re entertaining to watch and amazing workers. There aren’t that many public places around where people can see goats at work doing what they love. Eating!”