Barnyard Weed Warriors is a traveling crew of 75 grazing goats used to control brush and weeds. They were working in Gardner during the eclipse and torrential rains on Aug. 21. Submitted photos
Special to The Gardner News
Mary Powell is in the business of clearing weed and brush choked plots of land, but she’s not using mechanical tools or chemicals. She has a crew of 75 goats. The company name is Barnyard Weed Warriors. Mary and her crew travel all around the state of Kansas every year, and they just returned home after an eight day job in Gardner.
The Olathe Ford RV Center, Gardner, recently hired Barnyard Weed Warriors to knock down overgrown brush on areas of their property at 19310 S. Gardner Road.
This job was typical of the service. Mary brought in her crew in and set up movable electric fences to define the day to day work area. She stretches a tarp over one side of a livestock trailer for shade, and that becomes home base for the duration of the job.
The crew consists of 75 goats, three Border Collies, and Powell, who all stay on the site day and night for eight days.
“It’s pretty neat to watch them work. They work as a team. The bigger goats will push down some of the smaller trees and then they’re like land piranha. The rest come in and just tackle the leaves on this young tree,” she said.
The herd of goats can easily access areas that are hard or impossible to work on with brush hogs or other machinery. They will clear most vegetation up to 5-7 feet high – just about everything they can stand on their hind legs or climb to reach.
“The goats eat young trees like elm, walnut, locust. And buckbrush. They like cedar trees as well, they’ll strip the bark off them. They like Johnson Grass, and poison ivy and poison oak, it doesn’t bother them,” Powell said.
They were in Gardner from Aug. 17-25, which means they were here for the solar eclipse and the torrential rains on Aug. 21. Powell says the locusts started singing like it was night during the eclipse, but there was no change in behavior for goats. The eclipse occurred during the goats normal mid-day rest time, so they didn’t take much notice.
That night, the area was pounded with unusually heavy rain and lightning storms.
“The goats were in the trailer, the dogs were in the truck, and I was under the tarp – and we all got wet,” says Powell. She says she slept through much of the storm, but woke up wet and eventually moved into the truck with the dogs. It was crowded, and she had to sleep sitting up, but it was dry.
Part of her fencing got washed away in the storm but, for the goats, everything was back to normal business the next day.
“They did a really good job. They came and did what they were hired to do, which was clear away brush and obstacles for traffic to see our dealership from I-35,” said a rep for Olathe Ford RV.
In addition to brush clearing jobs, Powell is available to speak to interested parties about using grazing goats as a way to control brush and weeds. She has been working with livestock agriculture for over 30 years.
The first weekend in October, Powell and her goats will be at Pendleton’s Country Market in Lawrence for the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. On Oct. 21, her crew will be at a goat watching party in Eudora.
Powell can be contacted through, and provides updates on her activities via her Facebook page.