As the labor market tightens, some business owners lament that they can’t find enough skilled workers to fill jobs. This is not a problem for Jake Langeslag, co-owner of Faribault-based Goat Dispatch, which he and his wife, Amanda, started three years ago. The bulk of his staff of 85 devour plants such as buckthorn for customers.
“I call it invasive and undesirable plants,” says Langeslag. “They eat thorns, all kinds of stuff.”
Training is not an issue for Langeslag, and human resource concerns rarely bubble up. That’s because his workers are goats.
Langeslag considers his business territory to be the geographic triangle connecting the Twin Cities, Rochester and Mankato. He declines to disclose revenue for Goat Dispatch, but says that he’s encouraged by the growth he’s seeing from customers looking to rent a herd to clean up land.
Fees range from $500 to $1,200 per acre, depending on site conditions. It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks for a hooved crew to fully consume unwanted vegetation. Langeslag has a border collie to help corral the crews, but also tries to identify goats that have a good aptitude for the work at hand.
“We try to have workable goats that we trust,” says Langeslag. “There are certain ones that don’t cut it; they all have a report card.”