The Market Responds… with Sheep

This is ingenious.

IN this verdant lawn-filled college town [Oberlin, OH], most people keep their lawn mowers tuned up by oiling the motor and sharpening the blades. Eddie Miller keeps his in shape with salt licks and shearing scissors.

Mr. 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.”)

This is win-win-win. Let us not forget that such an idea puts no costs on others. The government is not taxing us to make us more green, nor are they banning something that we consume, such as fluorescent light bulbs. Rather, an entrepreneur with an idea is responding to the green desires of individuals, and makes a profit in doing so. Good for him. Good for them.

Customers pay $1 per sheep per day, but Mr. Miller also accepts barter payments, which have so far included karate lessons, jugs of maple syrup and the use of one homeowner’s truck. He has done around 20 homes so far, and has so many requests he can’t keep up with them.

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