Horse-and-plow farming

USA Today carried a story about how horse-and-plow farming is making a comeback. It is a good example of the need for careful reading. The small farm on the Amish mold is a hobby. The article makes it sound as if it will be the future of all farming. Fuel prices and machinery are sneered at. Hubris abounds. So do questionable assumptions.

The article mentions that a two horse and farmer team can help plow about an acre and a half a day. A horse needs about an acre for the hay to feed it for a year. The farm in the story has 9 horses. That’s nearly ten acres needed to feed just the horses. You start to get out of the small farm regime fairly quickly at that rate.

The comment “It takes a certain personality. It’s a craft, not a science” supports the idea that this type of farming is a hobby and completely ignores the role of the land grant institutions and what has been learned to increase safety, productivity, and health of farms.

As is usual in this corner of the ideological universe, conspiracies are called into play.

Horse farming was common until the end of World War II, Miller said, when the government and manufacturers started promoting mechanization to soak up the surplus industrial capacity.

What drives the hobby is the self sufficient longing. People do not want to have to depend upon others. They want to be in total control and independent. They are insecure about the rest of society and its existance. This is the ‘Whole Earth Catalog‘ and 60’s hippie mantra. The sad part is that they can’t just enjoy their hobby and extol its vitues. No, instead they have to bash and trash those who do not think the way they do and try to pretend they are better than others.

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