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Economy

Pasture degradation threatens Mongolia's cashmere industry

Sustainable goat farming campaign struggles amid creeping desertification

Batchuluun has earned a comfortable living from his herd of over 1,000 cashmere-producing goats in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. (Photo by Tim Ferry)

NOMGON SOUM, Mongolia In the Mongolian Gobi Desert, Batchuluun's herd of more than 1,000 goats produces valuable cashmere wool that enables him to support a family of five in a traditional ger, or tent. It is equipped with solar panels, a TV and smartphones, and a Kia Frontier truck is parked out front.

But the nomadic herder is most proud that he is passing on this traditional way of life to the next generation. His middle son dropped out of school to return to the ger and take up herding.

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