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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘It’s an all-around benefit’: Goats visit WSU Campus

Tall weeds and grass on campus were no match for a fleet of goats unleashed on overgrown plots of campus land last week. 

Rex Rutledge and his herd of grazing goats are new to the business scene, and with this being their second summer on the job, he’s hoping to expand throughout Wichita. In the summer, the City of Wichita contracted Rutledge’s business, Restoration Grazing LLC, to clear brush and poison ivy at Sim Park.

 “(I’m) just trying to spread the word and get this practice more accepted as a city, and hopefully, it turns into a wider tool of land management throughout the city,” Rutledge said.

The goats were invited to Wichita State to graze an eight-acre area of land between Woolsey Hall and Innovation Campus as an alternative to spraying herbicide. According to WSU Facilities Services, the goats will be on campus for the next three to four weeks but aren’t scheduled to return this summer. 

According to a KMUW article written about Rutledge’s goats, they have a preferred diet of many Kansas weeds, such as poison ivy, multiple types of tree saplings and the highly invasive Chinese bush clover, and will eat as much as they can.

(The goats) eat their fill of plants, and they take a sip of water, and then they go lay down,” Rutledge said. 

According to Rutledge, the use of goats has many benefits when compared to other land management techniques, such as handling more challenging terrain and being better for the environment. 

“You’re not using lawn mowers or combustion engines and cutting all this stuff down,” Rutledge said. “The goats, you know, they eat, and then they poop, and their poop is organic material that gets incorporated into the soil. You’re going to improve your soil health, you’re going to bring some vitality back to the soil.”

Rutledge explained that improving soil quality boosts water absorption, which creates less flooding and a healthier water cycle. 

He also explained that using goats has benefits outside of environmental health. 

“It’s cost-effective and entertaining, and it’s just a cooler way to do it than running lawn mowers over it,” Rutledge said. “It gives students something cool to come and enjoy.”

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About the Contributors
Lydia Steeby
Lydia Steeby, Reporter
Lydia Steeby is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. She's lived in Wichita her whole life and loves to be outside. A freshman, she is an undecided major exploring different career paths involving writing. Steeby also enjoys reading, playing the trumpet and making art.
Kristy Mace
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

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