What is Land Stewardship?
For us at First Rain Farm, land stewardship means that when we decide to act, we are thinking about the ecological system as a whole and that we are doing what will best maintain or improve the health of the soil, the diversity of the plant and animals communities, and put humans in right relationship with the land.
Our mission is to connect more and more properties together under our stewardship, creating a regular rotation for the goats, a greater buffer of fire-resilient forest for everyone, and a healthy, vibrant forest ecosystem.
- Goats are browsing animals which means they eat a wide variety of vegetation
- Grazing manages "flashy" herbaceous fuels like grasses, blackberries, and other brushy plants which quickly spread fire during a wildfire
- Annual grazing helps to maintain an open understory which creates a fire-resilient forest
- Grazing is an environmentally friendly method of land stewardship and a long-term management strategy for the Sierra Nevada foothills
How does it work?
- After you contact us, we will follow up with an email and then a site visit
- Once we agree on the project details, we will setup portable electric nets on your property and then we will bring the goats and livestock guardian dog(s) over by trailer, or by foot.
- The goats will immediately start eating vegetation and exploring their area. Depending on the total acreage, multiple fenced areas will be created to move the goats through as they reduce vegetation.
- As we near completion, the goats will vocalize their discontent, signally that it is time to move
How much does it cost?
- Our minimum job cost is $1000, to cover our setup and transportation costs
- Pricing is by the acre and job costs can vary from $500 to $1000 per acre depending on various factors like: access, distance, total acreage, and setup.
- For acreages greater than 10, we offer price breaks
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- We live in a "brittle" environment. Although we receive a lot of precipitation, the majority of it comes when it's cold. During the warm times of the year we are often very dry. Why is this important? Natural decomposition occurs when you have warm temperatures combined with moisture. For us, the overlap of these forces is minimal, resulting in a rapid accumulation of "forest litter". Fire, in effect, acts in place of decomposition; cycling nutrients back to the soil and the plants, and in the process it thins the forest of excessive saplings and understory brush, while providing opportunities for herbaceous grasses, and wildflowers.
- We live in a fire-adapted ecological community. For thousands of years fire has been a frequent and beneficial force on this land. There are two main causes of fire: lightning and humans. The Nisenan are the original peoples to have inhabited this land and their use of fire was the primary means of maintaining the land in good health, ensuring a fire-resilient landscape, and generating an abundance of plant species and wildlife.
- This land needs fire. We can decide whether it's on our terms, or not.
How do you burn safely?
- There are many factors that contribute to safe burning. Assessing fuel moisture, vegetation type, slope, aspect, relative humidity, wind speed, and temperature are some of the main factors we consider when planning a burn.
- The way in which we use fire is another major factor in burning safely. Our goal is to use low-intensity fire to achieve our objectives of fuels reduction, fire control, and ecological benefit. To do this we use "backing" fire, which means we light the fire and let it burn downhill, maintaining flame lengths between one and three feet in height. This low-intensity fire has a slow rate of spread, minimizes smoke release, and results in excellent fuels consumption.
- Maintaining adequate resources on site while burning is another way we maintain control and burn safely. Total resources depend on the scale of the burn, and the complexity.
How much does it cost?
- Our minimum job cost is $1000. For larger jobs the price can vary greatly depending on the required site prep, terrain, access, and resources required. Scheduling a site visit is the best way for us to asses the job and provide you with an estimate. The cost range, generally, is $300 to $1000 per acre. Our window of opportunity for burning is limited and varies each season due to permissible burn day status, weather, and other jobs ahead of yours. We do prioritize clients who utilize us for both the grazing and burning services.
If you think prescribed burning is right for your land and would like to schedule a site visit, please fill out the form below.