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No-Excuses Farming

Amish farmers find traditional farming methods more profitable than modern methods.

"In 1985, in a speech I gave to an Ohio organization that was looking for low-cost ways to make farming profitable, I commiserated at length with the plight of financially depressed farmers. Two Amishmen approached me afterwards, offering mild criticism. 'We have just finished one of our most successful years,' one of them said. 'It is only those farmers who have ignored common sense and traditional farming methods who are in trouble.' He went on to explain that he belonged to a group of Amish who had, as an experiment, temporarily allowed its members to use tractors in the field. He also was making payments on land that he had recently purchased. In other words, he was staring at the same economic gun that was pointed at English [non-Amish] farmers and he was still coming out ahead. 'But,' he said, 'I'm going back to the horses. They're more profitable."

-- From At Nature's Pace: Farming and the American Dream, by Gene Logsdon (Pantheon, 1994)

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Last updated: Jun 1, 1994

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