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Long Island Town To Rent Goats To Eat Pesky Weeds

Southampton will use goats to clear invasive plants. (credit: CBS 2)

Southampton will use goats to clear invasive plants. (credit: CBS 2)

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Officials in Southampton on Long Island believe they’ve found a way to control invasive plants that doesn’t involve pesticides.

The town board has voted to rent goats to eat the plants. Environmentalists said lawn mowers and pesticides aren’t an option because of wildlife on the property, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.

The Nubian dairy goats will be rented from farmers in upstate Rhinebeck. Their job will be to rid fields of autumn olive, a non-native plant that chokes out native species.

Larry Cihanek — a retired ad executive who is now in the goat business — said goats love certain plants that people hate.

“They basically eat everything green they can reach, especially poison ivy,” Cihanek told CBS 2’s John Slattery last year when he and his little herd were brought to Fort Hancock, N.J. to get rid of six acres of the nuisance plant.

The Southampton Town Board authorized $3,500 for fencing to corral the goats and for goat rental.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that if the goats do their job they might get another one: eating the grass that grows around headstones in the town’s cemeteries.

But using goats instead of people to clear invasive plants is rubbing some people in Southampton the wrong way.

“I think it’s a bad idea,” one landscaper told Xirinachs. “You have plenty of people that can do that.”

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)