Junkyard uses sheep to mow grass

New Ulm, MN - (NBC) - With some 1,900 cars in his salvage yard, Mike Lang has enough on his mind just keeping track of his inventory.

The owner of Southside Auto Salvage, located in New Ulm, Minnesota, must also deal with every make and model of weed.

"Don't take long and they shoot right up through the engine compartments," said Lang.

With junked cars parked nose to nose and door to door, running a mower between them is next to impossible.

Lang's not crazy about using herbicides either since the Minnesota River runs nearby.

"So we want to get these little four legged mowers," Lang said with a laugh. "They'll do the job."

Lang has cleared the way to do his mowing with sheep.

"There's a lot of parks in New York that have sheep grazing to take care of the weeds and grass problem so I thought it would be a good idea to do it out here.

Lang already has a farmer willing to loan him a couple dozen sheep for the summer, and the New Ulm city council approved an ordinance that will allow him to carry out his plan.

Lang must wait 30 days for the ordinance to take effect. He'll still need a permit and improvements in his gate.

The gate was a sore spot the last time he tried to graze sheep. A worker left it open and three sheep escaped.

"After the police department was chasing the sheep around, they said 'No more of this Mike,'" he recalled.

The ordinance only applies to industrial areas of New Ulm, so grazing sheep at home is still prohibited.

Having swayed the city to his way of thinking, Lang now sounds like a man who might even be ready to expand his product line.

"They eat the scrap from these cars and that's where steel wool comes from," he chuckles.

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