animal

Cows_buttsIn a recent article in the New York Times , journalist Tess Taylor takes a look into the resurgence of oxen working on small farms, in lieu of tilling machinery.

Taylor writes, “Now, as diesel prices skyrocket, some farmers who have rejected many of the past century’s advances in agriculture have found a renewed logic in draft power. Partisans argue that animals can be cheaper to board and feed than any tractor. They also run on the ultimate renewable resource: grass….oxen or horses aerate the soil with their hooves as they go, preserving its fertile microbial layers. And as an added benefit, animals leave behind free fertilizer.” 

As farmers and animals enjoy a relationship, not only is it gentler to the earth, working with these animals also enriches the spirit.

Resources for interested farmers are scarce. Professor Drew Conroy, who teaches at the University of New Hampshire has seen attendance at his oxen workshops continually rise. He as even made a DVD called, Training Oxen  

The New York State Folklore Society offers useful resource links on this page pertaining to the use of oxen in NYS.

Amish and Mennonite communities have been doing this all along, for an example of a working horse powered farm look to Natural Roots Farm in Conway, MA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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