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Farmers across America ditch tractors for oxen in bid to beat rising fuel prices
The Daily Mail ^ | May 9, 2011 | Daily Mail Reporter

Posted on 05/15/2011 7:01:59 AM PDT by bkopto

When farmers Danielle and Matt Boerson realised they could no longer afford to run their tractors, they took the bull by the horns - and ditched them for oxen.

Soaring petrol prices had become so high that the couple, who run an 80-acre farm near Madison, Wisconsin, were forced to get rid of their two tractors, hay baler, plough and rotavator.

So they took a course at the agricultural institute in traditional farming techniques.

'It gave me the confidence that, yes, I could do this', Danielle told the Times. 'It just required a lot of concentration and a firm voice.' Their instructor was former peace core volunteer Dick Roosenberg, 64, who learned the trade while working for the UN in West Africa. He took the skills he had honed back to Michigan and set up Tillers International.

At first the company was aimed at helping Third World farmers harvest in the cheapest way possible.

On the side, he also helped historically-themed villages. But his specialist knowledge is now enjoying a new wave of interest with farmers from Wisconsin to Alaska now joining his courses.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News
KEYWORDS: communism; marxism; obama; progressives; socialism; wisconsin
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To: bkopto

Fascinating article! I did not realize that true oxen were still around much less that anyone was using them. It would depend on your business model for your farm but I can certainly see how oxen could be very cost effective in a world of $6 (and up) diesel fuel, machinery repairs and operations.

During the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, Wellington's Army moved their heavy 24" siege guns with a team of 64 head of ox on each gun. The beast wore a harness made of rope that carried 6 cannonballs on their backs in addition to the harness to pull the gun.

Of course, there were other teams of ox to pull the wagons of powder, food, tents, bullets, supplies of all description, including more teams to pull the fodder to feed them all. And of course as the loads decreased with time, you can always slaughter a couple of oxen and feed a whole bunch of people fresh beef...

At one point Wellington's British Army had almost 250,000 head of ox in their campaign against Napoleon....

61 posted on 05/15/2011 7:44:16 AM PDT by Bean Counter (Rembember, you asked......)
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To: bkopto

Perhaps we could switch Nebraska over to rice fields.


62 posted on 05/15/2011 7:45:22 AM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network ("Saul Alinsky, meet Donald Trump...")
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To: SuzyQue

“the Amish live a 17th century lifestyle,”

Explain what the 17th century (1600’s) was like, I can’t get the picture.

63 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:02 AM PDT by conservativesister
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To: papertyger

What’s a spounge?

64 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:23 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 844 of our national holiday from reality. - OBL Dead? The TSA can go away!)
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To: bkopto

my father used to do that, and it’s


work. very few of the post ww2 generation would attempt it.

65 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:23 AM PDT by ken21 (dem taxes + regs + unions = jobs overseas.)
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To: The_Reader_David
Obama and his “green” tsars may be smiling, as are assorted agrarian romantics, Maoists and tree-huggers

You've hit on a key aspect of many discussions I have had with leftists and assorted Luddites who have this romanticized view of a lifestyle without machinery, IC engines, electricity, etc. The fact is, they've never had to live that way, and so don't understand what it was really like. For those who have, it was a very arduous, difficult lifestyle, a daily struggle of hard labor to secure the basics of survival. It involved dawn-to-dusk labor and nothing else, and I'm talking difficult, sweaty, physical labor of a type 99% of the population has never done (certainly not the elite Luddites, for whom typing on a keyboard is their idea of "work", or welfare types in the cities). It was a lifestyle where very few children ever went beyond a grade school education, because they had to go to work on the farm. The average lifespan ended in your forties, because half of your children would die in childhood.

So maybe the thing to do is to take these agrarian romanticists and Luddities out to the wilderness, leave them there, and say, okay, you wanted it, you got it, you're on your own. Check back with them every so often. My guess is as soon as they can't keep warm at night, or go hungry for a few days, they'll be crying to go back to their heated loft apartments, ready to jump into their car and head to the nearest McDonald's.

66 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:37 AM PDT by chimera
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To: bkopto

Friggan hippies from Madison. They are growing wacky weed there somewhere. You can bet on it.

67 posted on 05/15/2011 7:48:15 AM PDT by crz
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To: central_va

Yes, exactly! The cost may be less, but production will be much less.

Remember, there is a good reason that oil is so valuable and widely used - it is a lot of energy per volume. Oxen are less. You put less in, you get less out and vice versa. You get less, it becomes more expense and less available. And, people have to work much, much harder. It is what it is.

68 posted on 05/15/2011 7:49:26 AM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: central_va

You mean with a magic ox you do not need fertilizer, and weed and bug management not to mention all the types of plant fungus.

69 posted on 05/15/2011 7:50:04 AM PDT by org.whodat
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To: conservativesister


70 posted on 05/15/2011 7:50:23 AM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: BfloGuy
The 80 acre farm supportinng a family was possible in this area up to the 1960s.The farmer had typically a dozen cows,about the same number of pigs,a couple dozen chickens,and raised corn,hay, and soybeans for sale and for his animals. His wife and children tended a large garden. They bought little more than flour ,sugar,salt, and a few other items at the grocery.The wife sewed their own clothes,including making many items from cotton print feed sacks.(No, not burlap...that is just for the monks!)The farmer had one tractor of 20+ drawbar horsepower and their one automobile was used for going to church on Sundays and the weekly Saturday trip to town ,but kept in the toolshed or shelter mostly. They had one or two AM radios and probably a black-and-white TV that was a truly major purchase.Every tool,appliance, and article of clothing was used until worn out,not just out of fashion.

The leisure most people take for granted didn't exist.

One important difference is those farmers didn't have to pay 7% sales tax and many other taxes were lower.Those farmers and their town cousins weren't yet forced to support the tens of millions on various federal and state welfare handouts nor huge foreign aid grants to the enemies of America.

Just payment of the current property taxes is a burden on most people these days.

If we really want simpler lives,we must reduce the government at all levels.

71 posted on 05/15/2011 7:52:26 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
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To: central_va

“Farming with draft animals, while more time consuming, is VERY profitable. Ask the Amish about it.”

Your “more-time-consuming” phrase is very telling. If you assign no “expense” to your own labor, lots of stuff is “VERY profitable.” Heck, get rid of the oxen and resort to hoe tilling, and profit will really soar.

72 posted on 05/15/2011 7:52:26 AM PDT by olrtex
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To: central_va
You really need to take a tour of a modern big grain farm in the midwest, there are operations with 80 quarters of land under cultivation, there's no way on earth to do that with animals.

How could this be duplicated with animals;
73 posted on 05/15/2011 7:52:40 AM PDT by dynoman (Objectivity is the essence of intelligence. - Marylin vos Savant)
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To: bkopto

In a year’s time the carbon footprint of an oxen must be higher than a small tractor. Not that it makes any difference to me.

74 posted on 05/15/2011 7:53:14 AM PDT by super7man
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To: bkopto
This is so funny. For a couple of decades I've been telling my kids and grand kids the back to the earth fascist SOBs wouldn't be happy until the peasants were walking behind oxen and walking to the bus stop like they do in third world countries. Well, they're realizing that what I was telling them wasn't all exaggeration now. Even though this is unusual, at least the kids and grand kids have started looking at how bad it could get in a different light now. You elect fascist democrats to majority control for fifty years and what else can you expect? Democrat fascists promise the little volk whatever will get them motivated while in reality they're carefully building a system where the little guy is only one step above the outright slaves.

I wonder, how are the solid democrat masses in Detroit going to like farming behind a mule on one of those bold, new, urban farms in return for the benefit check? I can't wait for the ads with Michelle telling 'her people' how physical labor in return for their welfare is a good thing and will make their lives on the welfare plantation happier and more rewarding. Yes sir, they can sing, dance, breed as needed, and be real happy just like they were the last time democrat nobles had them all in one place where they could look after them.

75 posted on 05/15/2011 7:53:22 AM PDT by Rashputin (Obama is insane but kept medicated and on golf courses to hide it)
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To: bkopto

John Deere stockholder here... I’m not worried. They’re seeing fantastic demand for tractors. Food inflation, and growing demand from developing countries more than offsets fuel costs...

76 posted on 05/15/2011 7:53:22 AM PDT by Tim n Texas
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To: Cvengr

This story doesn’t make sense. A 80 Acre farm???? That’s not a farm, that is someones backyard in Texas.

77 posted on 05/15/2011 7:54:14 AM PDT by Psycho_Runner (I never voted for change, I prefer folding money.)
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To: null and void

It’s a british sponge, you oaf!


78 posted on 05/15/2011 7:54:22 AM PDT by papertyger
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To: digger48
Heck you need 80 acres just to turn that thing around
79 posted on 05/15/2011 7:56:27 AM PDT by mouser (Run the rats out its the only chance we have)
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To: evad

“But, but, won’t it produce ox-flatulence and kill the ozone, thereby radiating the earth and killing all the farm crops.”

This grave danger is out-weighed by the ability to turn to your fellow elite at the local organo-foot market and say, “well WE only buy organic produce that is grown from oxen-tilled fields, it’s much more “rustic” that way.” The higher cost would be worth it to out-trend all your snobbish foody peers, and watch them sadly putter away in their prii(the plural of “prius”).


80 posted on 05/15/2011 7:57:29 AM PDT by Ransomed
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