grazing goats green Google's grounds

First it was Bayer. Now it's Google. The two corporate behemoths, unlike in so many ways, have at least one thing in common: they're both using livestock to trim the grass at company campuses.

As part of its Earth Day commitment, Bayer let us know that they had brought in a flock of sheep to graze on grass and weeds on its Richmond, Calif., campus.

In a post last Friday on the Official Google Blog, Dan Hoffman (who heads the company's real estate services), announced that about 200 goats are now grazing on Google's Mountain View headquarters.

Saying it costs about as much as mowing, Hoffman wrote: "Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us (we're not 'kidding'). A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time."

Goats on Campus (from the Google Blog) Goats on Campus

In California, keeping grasses and weeds cut short is a highly important practice, especially for a state with a history of raging wildfires that also happens to be in the midst of a three-year-long drought. And using non-polluting goats (or sheep) instead of weed trimmers and mowers is a blessing for both areas' air quality: Both Santa Clara County (home of Google) and Contra Costa County (home of Bayer HealthCare) received Fs in the American Lung Association's State of the Air report this year.

(Actually, obviously, neither of these companies were among the first to do this -- at my alma mater we would all rejoice with the coming of spring because it meant the cows would be brought out to pasture on the eastern side of UC Santa Cruz's campus. But in this instance I would say that more is always better.)

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