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New Salary Rules Jeopardize California’s Wildfire-Preventing Goat Herding Industry

New Salary Rules Jeopardize California’s Wildfire-Preventing Goat Herding Industry

Meanwhile, Allstate is withdrawing from California because of wildfires.

Last week, I reported that State Farm will no longer accept applications for home and business insurance in California due to wildfire risks and the cost of rebuilding.

Now, another company is also opting out of offering home and business insurance in the state.

Allstate, another insurance powerhouse, announced in November it would pause new homeowners, condo and commercial insurance policies in California to protect current customers.

“The cost to insure new home customers in California is far higher than the price they would pay for policies due to wildfires, higher costs for repairing homes and higher reinsurance premiums,” Allstate said in a statement.

California’s unsettled market aligns with trends across the country in which companies are boosting rates, limiting coverage or pulling out completely from regions susceptible to wildfires and other natural disasters in the era of climate change. Florida and Louisiana have struggled to keep healthy insurance markets following extensive damage from hurricanes. Premiums are rising in Colorado amid wildfire threats, and an Oregon effort to map wildfire risk was rejected last year because of fears it would cause premiums to skyrocket.

The California Department of Insurance blames climate change for the rash of destructive wildfires. But of course!

However, those who have followed my reports from the state know it the only climate causing fires is the political one. The state is just about to enact another policy in the name of “economic fairness” that is going to undermine one of the most effective wildfire prevention industries in California: Goat herding.

Increasingly in recent years, Californians have put goats’ voracious and almost indiscriminate diets to work, minimizing fuel for wildfires across the state — a method that has been heralded as sustainable, economical and effective at reducing underbrush that can become dangerous in the hot summer months.

But goat ranchers worry a recent change in state labor requirements for herders could jeopardize the future of the industry — which some have said is particularly important this year, after an extremely wet winter left behind even more fuel for wildfires.

Goat herders were recently reclassified by California labor regulators, differentiating them from sheep herders — a new distinction that means goat herders will no longer be eligible for a monthly herders’ compensation, set at a minimum of $2,755 plus required overtime. Instead, employers will be required come Jan. 1 to compensate goat herders at an hourly rate, now set at $15.50 for farmworkers, plus required overtime.

And given the nature of a goat herders’ job, which is considered on-call 24/7, industry leaders and the California Farm Bureau estimate that change would come out to almost $14,000 a month.

Tim Arrowsmith of Western Grazers explains what the likely consequences of this reclassification are going to be.

Arrowsmith employs seven goat herders from Peru, who are on federal guest worker permits. He provides free housing, food and a phone.

“We are taking very good care of the employees because they are taking very good care of the livestock,” Arrowsmith said.

But he said this new labor regulation would put him out of business.

“We can’t sustain it, and the cities can’t sustain it … The goats will go to the market, and we will sell out, and I’ll go to work at Walmart,” Arrowsmith said.

Much like the grass and vegetation, goat grazing services have grown all over the state.

Arrowsmith started with one client 10 years ago. Now he has more than 100 customers and 6,000 goats.

It seems that goats can chew through anything except California’s red tape.


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Does anyone else wonder if some of these liberal states have people on the payroll whos job it is to f–k things up

Yet Gov Newsom is all worked up about a Sanctuary City in CA being taken up on their offer? Allstate and now State Farm. I guess they really do ‘know a thing or two b/c they’ve seen a thing or two’ and they don’t like what they see in CA.

In their make believe world … all that they do is wonderful. Who needs reality?

If you were a goat herder in California, would you:

1. Herd your goats across the border and look for greener pastures in a more goat friendly state.

2. Tell the government your goats were undocumented and skirt the new goat regulations.

3. Say “To hell with it” and get out of the goat business.


Goats are not preventing NorCal or CenCal or SoCal wildfires. Blind luck is preventing wildfires. Dry or wet year, it’s always the same response; CalFire issues warnings about forest fires and wants an increase in funding. That’s CalFire’s response for the last 40 years.

The goat contractor needs a very good lawyer which of course he can’t truly afford to hire. Because lawyers rule our lives now. It’s a feudal lord type of thing. It’s a great racket if one isn’t in the serf-caste.

If the State screws him over? Ruins his business? Goat Contractor won’t be working at Walmart. That’s cheap, emotional and manipulative goatshite. I image he’s doing more than just scraping by… for a goat contractor. His green-card employees could end up working at Walmart, but not Goat Contractor.

Walmart won’t provide the Peruvian goatherds with free food and a on-site trailer to live in. Goat-herding in California 2023 is likely an okay working class job. The Redding area is hot, low humidity and peaceful. It’s pretty nice up there. I doubt that the Peruvian guys are unhappy drudges.

I’m not mocking or wish bad things on Goat Contractor. The state should leave him be.

Speaking of wildfires, the kid in Idaho ought to be pursing legal action against the school over having his job with the forest service rescinded.

There’s a reason past employers won’t give references (good or bad)- it’s because they can get sued for slander if they lose the position.

But we need to destroy the goat herds. You forget that goats fart, and that causes global warming (or cooling or whatever it is this week).

I’m sure we can come up with a theory under which wild fires are good for the environment.

    puhiawa in reply to Geologist. | June 6, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    In fact the CA Indians have repeatedly told state government that their ancestors set fire to the grass when it was dry, but the trees still resistant because of retained moisture. But the legislature actually wants the problem because it expands the fascist state government and the global warming hoax that feeds it.

      bev in reply to puhiawa. | June 7, 2023 at 3:59 am

      Yes, for centuries the indigenous people, the original stewards of the forests, practiced management through controlled burns. The European settlers who first arrived in California encountered lush and thriving forests. Tree ring data, indeed, demonstrates that healthy forests existed for centuries before the Whites took over.

      The California climate is hostile to healthy forests. Wet winters stimulate the growth of undergrowth, which then competes with the trees for scarce water and nutrients during the hot dry summers, resulting in parched and unhealthy trees and undergrowth. Without forest management California forests will not thrive and will always be at risk for wildfires, becoming hotter and more intense in recent years because of the increasing density of the undergrowth, the fuel for the fires.

        diver64 in reply to bev. | June 7, 2023 at 4:52 am

        Quoting a far left publication that fully embraces climate change among other things is not conducive to your argument. There is no evidence that native tribes used burning forests or brush for anything other than driving game off cliffs or during warfare. The Europeans arrived in the area to lush grass and forest due to an unusually wet period and that has been born out by research including tree rings. Southern Arizona was covered in plains of grass as tall as a horses belly as reported by settlers moving in. It’s not now as the climate is reverting back towards normal for the areas.

    Pepsi_Freak in reply to Geologist. | June 7, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    Or at least Donald Trump’s fault.

    oneoclock in reply to Geologist. | June 8, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    “I’m sure we can come up with a theory under which wild fires are good for the environment”

    Here’s one- the smoke shades the earth and allows cooling. No need to spray from airplanes.

    They can run with that theory.

AOC Stupid. The woman behind this is the head of a government union. She is the same person who drove Tesla and 12,000 jobs from CA to TX. Her complaint is that the goats compete with her union for fire suppression jobs and therefore that is unfair trade practices. In reality, she wants the entire new fire suppression budget, about $20M more than last year after decades of forestry and grasslands mismanagement due to eco-groups, to go her union. And if you expect a single human being employed by the government to go out in 102F to cut wild grass to the ground and remove the cut grass, then you are as stupid as AOC also. This is a money grab and will result in another rash of huge grass fires that will get into the forests around LA, SD and Sac.

Michael Gilson | June 6, 2023 at 10:49 pm

Can’t the goats self identify as sheep? Then the goat herders would be sheep herders because we aren’t allowed to question a self identification.

    I think if we can get a teacher to identify them as sheep, we’d be good. Of course, then you’d have to keep it from the goatherds….

Ranchers and hobby ranchers down here maintain goat herds, also, but I don’t recall ever seeing any goatherds. Mostly they’re kept simply for tax credit purposes.

henrybowman | June 6, 2023 at 11:57 pm

So the lesson is, if you have a golden egg to lay, lay it someplace where the government won’t notice it.
Governments have a nasty habit of looking around for people who find new revenue streams, and finding innovative ways to rip some new vig off the top.
Contract workers (independent consultants).
Gig workers, especially Uber/Lyft.
Microsoft (“you can’t bundle your browser!”)
Twitter (EU: “Obey our special national censorship laws or shut down!”)
And now… goat herders. They’re really stretching now, brothers.

Subotai Bahadur | June 7, 2023 at 12:33 am

OK, let’s have a show of hands here. How many of the Gentle Readers give an obese rodent’s gluts about wildfires in California?

I did not lose anything in the Peoples’ Democrat Republic of Alta California that I am worried about getting burnt up, and the TWANLOC Californians chose to be governed this poorly.

Subotai Bahadur

“Climate Change” has nothing to do with the wildfires. They are the culmination of decades of poor fire management caused by red tape and environmental groups suing to stop any type of forest management out west. Let the undergrowth grow for years and in a desert like California fires will be catastrophic. The increased cost of them does not mean they are worse than the last few years, it means more and more people are moving out of the hellhole cities and building in areas they should not.

Suburban Farm Guy | June 7, 2023 at 7:10 am

The religion must be constantly reinforced. Blah blah blah ” in the era of climate change….” Probably in the AP stylebook. Hmmm, who said “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth….” ??? Another fascist, just like Nuisance and the Intolerant Left

Pepsi_Freak | June 7, 2023 at 3:46 pm

Everything the Left touches they destroy.

BierceAmbrose | June 7, 2023 at 9:18 pm

The real minimum wage is always 0.