A town in Vermont facing budget constraints has found a creative solution for keeping the grass in their cemeteries well-kept. That solution? Sheep and goats. The livestock will graze on graveyard grass so that the town does not have to pay humans with high-tech equipment to do so.
It's both unorthodox and utterly traditional, as historically livestock were responsible for keeping the grass trimmed. NPR reports that according to Charlotte town's Cemetery Commission Stephen Brooks, it will save them about $2000 a year and is thus a step that must be taken. They rented the two sheep and two goats from a farmer in the area, and put them to work immediately. "Depending on the time of year, sheep and goats can chew a higher percentage or a lower percentage of what needs to be chewed down in direct proportion to how fast the grass is growing," Brooks says. So not only do the animals get the job done, but they are much less expensive to feed than a power mower is to fuel.
Won't some people take issue with farm animals trampling all over their dearly departed? Such would be expected, but perhaps it just gives this New England town more of a "city on the hill" feel. "It is rather pastoral," Brooks told NPR. And it has yet to create a stir among residents, who apparently see the environmental, economic, and even aesthetic benefits.