Prescribed Browsing with Goats

Prescribed Browsing with Goats in Burnsville

Land management is challenging, especially when dealing with invasive plants like common buckthorn, and it is important to have a variety of land management tools available for use.  In 2018, Burnsville City Council passed an ordinance allowing the use of goats for land management on private and public land, as long as certain criteria are met and followed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the goats kill the buckthorn or other unwanted vegetation?

Goat browsing does not immediately kill buckthorn or other vegetation.  Goats damage the vegetation by stripping off leaves and sometimes bark.  This may stress buckthorn and other plants over time and allow other types of plants to get established. By reducing shading, goats can promote the growth of other types of groundcover plants but it’s important to note that prescribed browsing is most effective when repeated for several years and when used along with other management techniques.  

Can I use goats on my Burnsville property?

Prescribed grazing with goats is allowed (Title 6, Chapter 2 Section 21 of City code) within Burnsville but there are specific limitations on parcel size and numerous other factors.  In general, a property must be at least half an acre (0.5) in size or larger in order for prescribed grazing to be allowed.  Prescribed grazing must be conducted by a contractor who has been permitted by the City.  Contractors must meet City insurance requirements.  Further rules on prescribed grazing are outlined in the City's prescribed grazing policy which can be viewed here.  Contractors interested in applying for a prescribed grazing permit can contact the City natural resources department at or 952-895-4543.

Are goats currently being used at any City natural areas?

Goats are not currently being used at any City natural areas.  If goats are being used at a City park, this website will be updated to list their location so park visitors can stop by to see their work in progress.