Showing posts from October, 2012

Oxen and the Future of Farming

In early August, after leaving Baghdad, I decided to unwind a bit by taking an “Oxen Basics Workshop” at Sanborn Mill Farm, near Concord, New Hampshire. Lasting three days, the workshop was not only a superb opportunity to learn about the basics of using oxen in farming and more about the whole approach to agriculture that draft animals require, but it was also an introduction to the “oxen users community,” a very diverse group of highly intelligent and dedicated agrarians who see the value in traditional methods for rescuing modern agriculture in the 21st century. As it turns out, that workshop also exposed me to a way of farming that may well prove to be the best approach to modern agriculture for the people of South Sudan. Oxen-powered farming today exists mostly in New England. The small farms, hilly terrain, and rocky land lend themselves to the use of oxen whereas in the rest of the country, most animal-powered agriculture is done with horses and mules. There is also a lon