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Re: NFC: Communique from the combat booted one.OT

Its not how much money that is coming in that counts,
its how much is held onto. The amish/mennonites of
Ohio are able to keep a greater percentage of their
milk checks then their 'englisher' neighbors. And also
are putting more of their kids into farming. In fact
the farming families of the amish/mennonites are
increasing while the others are decreasing.

The process you discribe was a common one, I saw it in
my family, the uncles came back from WWII all with a
new appreciation for machines and MODERNIZING, except
they found those tractors and other modern equipment
cost far more and that meant you had to farm more, and
then needed more to get it done. VERY soon they were
working for the bank. The process killed all of them
off, in the meantime my grandfather had his dairy into
his 80s.

The economics now favor the draft farms, but the
entire farm operation has to be built that way. 

off topic so I am bowing out, good discussion though.

--- MDWfield at aol_com wrote:
> Don't know about the rest of you, but I watched my
> grandfather get dragged kicking and screaming into
> the modern farming age.  He plowed, hauled wood, and
> pulled up stumps with three mules.  My uncle bought
> a little used tractor, and I've seen first-hand how
> much quicker a tractor can be over even a
> well-matched, well-trained team of mules.  Even
> though his odd mule pulled up a stump that little
> Ford couldn't budge, the tractor simply worked
> faster, plowed deeper, than those mules (incidently,
> the match brace sold for more than the used tractor
> cost!)
> The reason he switched completely to raising cattle
> (as opposed to crop farming) was the dropping cost
> of produce due to the huge factory farms with huge
> tractors, plows, etc.  Bottom line, while a
> well-trained team of draft animals is a joy to work
> and easier on the earth (shallower plowing means
> less erosion & run-off), they cannot compete
> economically with modern tractors.  
> Just my two cents.
> Mike Whitfield
> >>A little more food for thought:
> I have always had an interest/affection for draft
> horses, from sleeping with them as a babe to logging
> with them and just enjoying them, there is an
> excellent mag devoted to them, The Draft Horse
> Journal
> surprising as that might sound(good website). A few
> years ago one of the editors had an article done at
> Ohio State University on the economics of horse
> farming using the NE Ohio Amish and Mennonite
> farmers
> for their study and 
> nearby conventional dairy farmers to compare with.
> The study showed a number of things that were
> expected, that more of the Amish farmers
> participated
> in the farm operation, that they had smaller capital
> costs, smaller dairy herds and smaller checks. What
> wasnt expected was that the Amish farmers were able
> to
> retain a larger percentage of their milk checks, and
> most surprising that the Amish farmers had more free
> time to do with as they wanted then their
> neighboring
> 'modern' farms.
> The media and the rest of us have adopted the image
> of
> drudgery sold by the tractor companys of working
> with
> horses, wheras the truth is that working with horses
> promoted a lifestyle that gave more leisure time. In
> order to pay for the tractors and other equipment
> the
> 'modern' farmers had to farm more land leading to
> more
> debt and more labor to clear it with higher interest
> payments taking more of the milk check before they
> could realize anything from it.

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