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Hometown update leads to ‘sheep mower’ and other agriculture stories

Sheep

By Flickr user Ralmonline Alm

Kevin Roose takes readers of The New York Times to Oberlin, Ohio, to discover there are other options for mowing the lawn. He writes:

“Mr. [Eddie] Miller, 23, is the founder of Heritage Lawn Mowing, a company that rents out sheep — yes, sheep — as a landscaping aid. For a small fee, Mr. Miller, whose official job title is ‘shepherd,’ brings his ovine squad to the yards of area homeowners, where the sheep spend anywhere from three hours to several days grazing on grass, weeds and dandelions.

The results, he said, are a win-win: the sheep eat free, saving him hundreds of dollars a month in food costs, and his clients get a freshly cut lawn, with none of the carbon emissions of a conventional gas-powered mower. (There are, of course, other emissions, which Mr. Miller said make for ‘all-natural fertilizer.’)“

Miller’s business became the lead story of Kevin’s article about entrepreneurs turning “back to the land” as traditional job offerings dwindle.

The big question everyone has when reading this piece: How did you find a guy using sheep to mow a lawn?

Today’s Tip: Keep up-to-date on hometown news.

Kevin Roose

Kevin Roose

“A few months ago, I got an e-mail from my mother, who lives in Oberlin, Ohio, telling me – in that universal, mom-catches-far-flung-son-up-on-hometown-news way – about a guy in my town, Eddie Miller, who was renting out sheep as lawnmowers.” Kevin says.

Even though he covers Wall Street, the story was too good not to share.  He searched the Internet and asked friends to ask friends to find other agricultural businesses. He also looked at winners of past sustainable business competitions, and contacted agricultural experts to see if they knew of new startups, he says.

“I wanted to make sure it was a legitimate movement before blowing it out into a broader story,” Kevin says. “Lucky for me, it turned out to be.”

 

About the Author

Rosland Gammon is a former business journalist turned college instructor. Her newsroom experience includes reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and reporting and editing at Bloomberg News. Gammon currently teaches communications at Alverno College in Milwaukee. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Rosland Gammon

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