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Nevada City Winery Recruits
80 Goats to help Combat Forest Fires


Nevada City Winery Recruits 80
Goats to help Combat Forest Fires

May 15, 2023

Each year, Nevada City Winery is faced with the issue of owning 1.25 acres of forested hillside that leads down to Deer Creek. This hillside consists of steep terrain overgrown with weeds, brush, and other debris. As the days get longer, so do the invasive blackberry bushes and wild grasses, and it is by order of the fire marshal that they all get cleared before the start of fire season.

An overgrown forest comes with a higher risk of wildfires, and we want to take every possible step to reduce the odds of one happening in our backyard. This year, Nevada City Winery turned to Tim from First Rain Farm for an eco-friendly land management solution, goats. 

First Rain Farm is a family-owned and operated business based in Nevada City, California that specializes in innovative clearing services. The farm's team of expert handlers and arsenal of over 80 goats work together to clear brush, weeds, and other vegetation from a variety of landscapes. By utilizing goats, First Rain Farm is able to offer a natural and non-invasive alternative to traditional methods of land management, all while providing an entertaining and educational experience for visitors.

Not only are goats a natural and sustainable solution, they are able to target specific types of vegetation, such as blackberry bushes, that can be challenging for other clearing methods like mowers or herbicides. They traverse the steep terrain with ease, and even seem to enjoy themselves – breaking their feast with a quick cuddle and hillside nap with a view. 

In addition to providing a valuable service in reducing fire risk, the goats are also incredibly friendly and entertaining to watch. Although some are skittish, others are friendly and walk up to visitors for a neck scratch or two. They are accompanied by a burly canine companion that is tasked with protecting the herd. This pack of hard-working fire abators were stationed at the winery for just four days, yet were able to clear every inch of green overgrowth.

Overall, using goats as a method of fire clearing is an eco-friendly and effective solution, and we are content knowing that no fossil fuels or herbicides made their way into Deer Creek by our hands. We highly recommend working with First Rain Farm for forest management.

Although there are grants and other forms of aid to support the private residents in need of tree and brush clearing, there is no aid for small businesses in the same situation. Forest management is always a huge undertaking and requires a significant investment year after year. If you appreciate the work that Nevada City Winery has done to help prevent wildfires in our area, please consider supporting us by buying a bottle of wine. Every purchase helps! 

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