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Settler Valley Ranch Taking A Big Bite Out of Fire
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cub scouts, goats, Tanya and Mikayla

Cub scouts visitng Tanya Baker, daughter Mikayla
and goats at work at Prescott, AZ Nature Center

goats at TNC's Hassayampa River Preserve

Settler Valley goats at work at The Nature Conservancy's Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg, AZ. The fire chief was initially skeptical, but now likes what he sees the goats doing.

red hat ladies visit Settler Valley Ranch goats at work
The Bakers spend time with the community talking about what they're doing. Fourth graders (right), and the Red Hat ladies (left) may all become goat grazing supporters and encourage fire managers and local governments to use them. 4th graders visit goats

Tanya, Rod and Mikayla Baker and their goats of Dewey, Arizona have been hard at work since October of 2008.

"We have been working towards this for the last two years and we're very excited about our present and future possibilities," says Tanya.

When the Bureau of Land Management and the Power Company came to their ranch to clear vegetation under power lines during the summer of 2008, the Bakers started talking to them and to the Prescott Area Wildland/Urban Interface Commission (PAWUIC) about the beneficial role goats could play in reducing fire danger. She bought a Handbook on CD and share the information with them. The result was a pilot project last fall at the United Christian Youth Camp in Prescott, AZ.

A field tour in November 2008 introduced other fire managers to the goats and the Bakers, and added more jobs to their to do list. They've now grazed down vegetation at the Prescott Nature Center, and The Nature Conservancy hired them to reduce fire dange at their Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg, AZ. Now the goats are working at a Home Owner's Association in Prescott for up to two months.

I visited the Bakers in November because Tanya invited me to come speak to PAWUIC to provide more information on the usefulness of prescribed grazing with goats. It was easy to see why the business is growing so rapidly. Tanya has a great ability to network and to figure out how to make things work for potential customers. She's incredibly professional and conscientious and builds the tightest fences I've ever seen. She does all goat graziers proud! To read more about their projects, check out:

copyright 2009, Kathy Voth all rights reserved
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