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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 07:37 AM

And now for something rather different

February 2007 // Volume 45 // Number 1 // Research in Brief // 1RIB5
Randall E. James
Professor
Ohio State University Extension
Burton, Ohio



Horse and Human Labor Estimates for Amish Farms
Abstract
Amish farms are one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. farm community. A 2003 study estimated horse and human labor requirements for Amish farms. A typical Amish crop rotation of 15 acres small grains, 20 acres alfalfa hay, and 15 acres corn was found to have a total labor requirement of only 920 hours/year. Using information from this study and earlier research, a series of crop enterprise budgets for Amish farms was developed. These budgets provide a tool that Extension educators can use with the rapidly growing number of Amish farms across the country.


Extension workers are increasingly being called on to assist Amish farm families. The Amish population more than doubles every 20 years, and farming has always been one of the foremost occupations. There are over 1,400 congregations, or church districts, in at least 33 states and one Canadian province. These church districts are clustered together into more than 250 settlements (Kraybill & Hostetter, 2001; Kraybill, 1989). New settlements are constantly being established in areas where Amish have never lived before, which means an ever-increasing number of Extension educators need relevant materials to assist these new communities.

The economic efficiencies of large farms and the cost-size relationships of farms have long been important areas of research for agricultural economists (Castle, 1989). Extension educators have sometimes advocated that farms need to both get bigger and specialize in order to survive. Against this backdrop, it is easy to view Amish farms as an anachronism--a part of our rural past. However, Extension educators need to view Amish farms as important, valid clientele. Small, diversified Amish farms, using traditional farming methods and draft horses, or mules, as a major power source, are surprisingly successful, sustainable, and profitable (James, 2005; Bender, 2001; Stinner, Moore, & Stinner, 1999; Stinner, Paoletti & Stinner, 1989).

The proceedings of...

http://www.joe.org/joe/2007february/rb5.php

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Reply And now for something rather different (Original post)
kristopher Nov 2015 OP
rogerashton Nov 2015 #1
cprise Nov 2015 #2
kristopher Nov 2015 #3

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:06 AM

1. The agricultural extension service

is a little-known but powerful asset of the American economy. Government action in the market economy at something close to its best.

The Netherlands -- which, despite its dense population, is an important producer and exporter of agricultural products -- formerly had an excellent agricultural extension service. Then, 30 years ago, in the grip of "neoliberal" politics, they privatized it! It failed, of course. (So I was told on a visit to the Netherlands Cow College, anyway.)

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:01 PM

2. Do the Amish use modern fertilizers?

If not, that would make them a solar-powered (pre-industrial) society.

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Response to cprise (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:10 PM

3. difficult to generalize to "the Amish"

I'm not yet well informed about their method as I just starting to look into it (haven't even read the OP paper yet). I hope to visit with some folks in Lancaster within the next couple of months and learn a few things.

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