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Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

Associated Press

Reno, Nev. — Goats are known to eat just about anything, but it didn’t dawn on Vince Thomas until recently that the menu might include Christmas trees.

“They’ll eat the pine needles and leave the skeleton of the tree,” said Thomas, a longtime volunteer firefighter who has come up with a new use for his family-owned goat herding business, “Goat Grazers.”

“It basically looks like Charlie Brown’s Christmas with a scrawny tree that has nothing but the branches,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Thomas is launching a new program with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District on Friday to use his 40 goats to help recycle Christmas trees.

He says he got tired of watching people discard the trees in landfills or dump them on public property, where they became a fire danger.

“It was amazing to me to see how many Christmas trees people would just toss out there,” he said.

Thomas said his goats have been used in the past to help graze in areas with fire-prone weeds along the Sierra’s eastern front.

“We thought, ‘What a great way to get rid of the weeds,’” he said.

“And the goats are great employees, they love their job and they don’t complain.”