Be sure to check the flyer you receive when you enter the grounds of Horse Progress Days to see how many other seminars have been added to the event.
Why Use Horses?
Robert Yoder, from Morrisville New York, our presenter for this seminar, retired from actively working his own organic dairy farm a few years ago. His subject will be on the use of horses in Amish communities. Where is agriculture taking us? Where and how does it make sense to continue to use horses in these times? From his own personal experience, he will talk about what using horses has done for Amish people. Using horses when others have turned unapologetically to tractors and automobiles has been a defining characteristic for non-Amish people with regard to the Amish. But what has it meant to the Amish community and what does the future hold? This presentation will be an apology (argument) for horses. Robert has been a long-time supporter of Horse Progress Days, lending his voice in support of the equipment in the fields as it is demonstrated and as he explains what it is meant for. He also had a major role in producing the enduring and long-standing Horse Progress Days Mission Statement.
Adding Dollars to the Small Farm Bottom Line
Larry and Ruth Weaver own an 80-acre farm that has helped them to raise six boys, now aged 16-28 years old. Five of the boys are currently helping with the farm business that includes a company called Sunrise Seeds Plus. This company has a focus on providing practical products for the farm and on sharing information with farm and produce growing communities. The farm is supporting a flock of sheep which is hopefully on the way to including 200 ewes. Larry also enjoys small construction jobs on the side which has helped to make it possible for the boys to take on most of the responsibility for running the business. Larry will be talking about how to add dollars to the bottom line without bankrupting the checking account. He says, “God has blessed us greatly in health and occupation and we wish the same for you!”
Life on the Family Farm
Ervin Bontrager Jr. farms with his wife Wilma whom he married in June of 1992. In December of that year, the two moved to Wilma’s home farm and started milking cows. There were only about four cows on the farm then, and they were milked by hand. The milk was sold in large milk cans to a local cheese house. Now, there are over 40 cows being milked in a milking parlor with a pipeline to the milk house, and the milk is shipped to the Organic Valley Cooperative. The total farm consists of 120 organic certified acres with four acres in woods, and there are a couple of acres of low land. There are seven children in this household: four boys and three girls. The oldest three are married. In this seminar Ervin will be talking about things to do or not to do to keep life on the farm interesting for the family, and for himself, as the dad.
Ways to Keep a Small Dairy Farm Viable in Today’s World
Dairy farmer three-man panel. Join Atlee Yutzy, David Miller and Merlin Miller
Atlee Yutzy and his wife Susan, are parents of eight children, four of them are married and have brought two grandchildren into the family. They own a 99-acre farm, 58 tillable and 38 in woods, and rent another 17 acres from a neighbor. They milk 40-45 head of New Zealand and Holstein crossbred cows and they raise all their own replacement animals. The farm was certified organic in 2009. They also tend a small orchard and produce about 400 gallons of maple syrup every year.
David Miller and his wife Naomi started dairy farming in 2010 and transitioned to organic in 2012, joining the Organic Valley milk marketing cooperative in 2014. The 35-40 head they milk are Holsteins. They own a 100-acre farm of which 85 are tillable and 15 in meadow and woods. Of the 25 acres of corn they raise, 13 are chopped for silage and 12 are harvested for grain. The rest of the tillable land is in hay. In order to be good stewards of the land that God has given them, they pursue a goal of producing and maintaining healthy soils.
Merlin Miller and his wife Mary, with help from their two boys and three girls, milk 35 head of Jersey cows and raise all their own replacements. They also have a herd of 20 Draft Horses. They moved onto Merlin’s home farm in 2013, became organic certified in 2014 and began milking in 2018. This farm is made up of 76n owned acres and 45 rented.