by Sally Colby

When Tim and Katherine Clymer purchased their central Pennsylvania farm in 2014, the edges of the property were overgrown and full of weeds. The Clymers’ plan is to eventually work toward organic certification, so they needed to manage the weeds that came with the property as well as limit future weed growth. They cleared the edges and fenced an alleyway for goats so they wouldn’t have to spray weeds in what would be marginally productive land.

The area between the two fences is planted with a mix that appeals to goats, and it can be mowed when necessary. The buffer also keeps deer out because the external fence is high and fairly close to the lower internal fence, making it more difficult for deer to jump. “We excluded deer from the onset,” said Tim. “We put up the fence the same year we planted so we haven’t had deer problems.”

The result is an attractive buffer surrounding the entire planted acreage, with goats to keep the weeds trimmed. The Clymers say the goats have done a great job, and some minor trimming of random weeds is all that’s necessary to keep the property edges neat and clean.