The Four-Legged, Green Approach To Farming
By Jeni Ferreira
We are what we eat, and nowadays people are taking this very much to heart. Theywant food that is healthier and additive free, and the farmer is struggling to feed this growing demand. It takes up to 5 years to convert a conventional farm to organic status, and many farmers cannot survive through the tide of change. With the markets in their current state the small farmer goes out of business, and the commercial farmer must grow to stay afloat, while the middleman, the grocers, are gleefully skipping all the way to the bank.
As a student of agriculture and a lover of the land, I see a glimpse of a future, very much like the past, when families produced their own food, working together with the natural cycle of growth and richness we have around us every day. In those days we counted on our relationship with the land, the things that grow on it, and the animals we needed for their awesome power and willingness to please. In this dream people work together to create a healthy living for their families, while preserving their natural environment.
This preservation can only be acquired today by taking the monstrous tractor from the small farm, effectively cutting off expensive fuel cost, and replacing it with the majesty and grace of working animals. Fuel accounts for easily 30% of farming expenses, and with rising fuel costs the logical option will be to use less. Donkeys, oxen and horses have been our farming companions for ages, and I believe moving back to this working relationship is the key to our sustained existence.
Specifically horses, which encompass both workability and longevity, are the way forward for the small farmer looking to make a living. By working with horses rather than tractors, they will truly be the most eco-friendly as there is no fuel use, thus minimizing their carbon footprint and enhancing their organic status which is the goal of any business these days aimed at fighting global warming and restoring the earth. Sustainability and productivity can become one for the small farmer, or any person who is dedicated to leaving the earth better than they found it, and having working animals will create a peaceful balance in their everyday lives.
Losing touch with working horses has been one of life’s greatest failings, a travesty that people do not recognize because the understanding of animals, and the absolute magical relationships that can form, have been lost. Horses instill a sense of responsibility and realization in people who are open-minded enough to accept it; they make you want to be a better person. When this is combined with a love of creation, of farming, you create the most optimal resource: a person who really cares about what they do – and in return you will find the most perfect fresh produce being grown.
With the technology that have been developed by communities still dedicated to this philosophy of farming, it is relatively easy, and definitely cost-effective for small producers to work with horses once more. The PTO cart has been developed that is pulled by working horses. The PTO is run by a biofuel engine and the cart can form a link between working horses and basically any modern small tractor drawn implement that needs to be run on a PTO. There is a fast array of implements that have been developed, enabling farmers to do any farming task just as effectively with a horse rather than a tractor. This has increased productivity and ease of working incredibly.
Financially speaking you won’t have to fork out loads of money for an expensive tractor, just buy a PTO cart at a fraction of the price which will leave you with incentive to invest in normal, smaller implements. Then go further to invest in good, solid heavy draft horses and rest easy with the thought that you are not only giving a good home to animals that absolutely deserve to be cared for, but you are also saving the planet.
If we are to become better and healthier beings, I truly believe we should move back to sustainable farming with animals as our hearts and engines, driving us to a bright and peaceful existence.