7-6-21

Recently, I attended Horse Progress Days in Mt. Hope, Ohio, in the heart of Amish country. It’s a farm show where Amish folks and interested non-Amish farmers and horseman from around the country come together to watch demonstrations of the latest farm equipment that’s designed for animal powered farming, pick up information about small scale agronomy, and to share ideas. Since I use some natural horse power on my farm, I enjoy watching the draft teams work as singles, teams and multiple horse hitches as they demonstrate tillage tools, planters, cultivators, equipment for harvesting hay, logging and other tasks. I also enjoy talking to farmers who are making their living on small scale farms in the middle of the country, mantra of get big or get out has been popular since the 1950s. Non Amish folks often think that animal powered farming is a thing of the past and are surprised that new equipment is currently being manufactured to fill the needs of thousand of Amish and Mennonite farmers and hundreds of small scale non Amish farmers who are growing produce on farms of 200 acres or less. As the cost of new and used conventional agricultural equipment has escalated over the past five or six decades, it’s very hard for small scale farmers to buy equipment and show profit at the end of the year. But the equipment demonstrated at Horse Progress days is sized to be used on small scale operations and is affordable to those operators. All though Amish farmers are small, they support the operator’s families and often their parents in retirement, and most of the farmers plan to pass the farm on to their children who will run them when they retire. That Amish farms are profitable is driven home to me when I drive into Amish communities in the Midwest and see well kept farms, bustling towns and businesses that are obviously profitable. In comparison, non Amish towns are often ragged shells that have been hollowed-out by farm consolidations, which have stripped them of jobs and families to fill schools and maintain the tax revenue necessary to maintain town services. My Amish friends assure me that they are not Luddites who are opposed to new technology or ways of farming. They chose the technologies they will embrace based what will help them maintain their way of life and will allow them to use animal power into the future for farming, related businesses like logging, and transportation.

An annual survey of beekeepers determined that honey bees continue to die at high rates. Between April 2020 and this April of 2021, losses across the country averaged 45.5 percent according to preliminary data from the Bee Informed Partnership, a collaboration of researchers that has conducted the annual bee loss survey for 15 years. Bee mortality reported by 3,347 beekeepers, representing about seven percent of all honey bee colonies across the country, was the second-highest since the survey began in 2006.

Have you eaten your strawberries today? A team of scientists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center explored the effects of a daily two doses of strawberries on human health. While studies have shown that the fruit lowers LDL cholestrol, blood glucose, insulin resistance, and other disease risk factors, scientists wondered if they might also help lower the risks associated with diabetes. The findings suggest that consuming 2.5 cups of strawberries for just four weeks may significantly improve insulin resistance, lipid particle profiles, and serum PAI-

The findings suggest that consuming 2.5 cups of strawberries for just four weeks may significantly improve insulin resistance, lipid particle profiles, and serum PAI-1 in adults with metabolic syndrome. So they determined that strawberries were not only good, but were good for you.

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