Real horse power attractive farm activity

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What do horse-drawn farming and the Internet have in common?

For a young couple operating a Martell, Nebraska, vegetable farm, a lot.

The Columbus Telegram published a story about Alex McKiernan and his wife, Chloe Diegel, who launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $22,000 to convert their 40-acre truck patch from tractor to horse power -- make that two 13-year-old Belgian workhorse power, that is.

So far, they've raised more than $17,000 of that goal.

The couple doesn't expect their 1,000-acre neighboring farms to convert to real horse power, but biological propulsion does have its advantages.

Horses don't compact the soil as much as their old John Deere and Allis-Chalmers tractors, and organic emissions from their "tractors" help build up the soil instead of polluting the air like burning diesel or gasoline will.

McKiernan and Diegel's Robinette Farms won't make a lot of money, they admit, but that's a lifestyle choice they can live with. They're not alone; about 400,000 farms in North America use draft horses in some capacity or another.

Their tractors will still have a place on the farm, the couple admits, but you can't love a tractor. "You can get a lot done with tractors," he said, "but they're loud and smelly, and you can't get engaged with the machine."

You can read the original Columbus Telegram story here: http://bit.ly/1e3pGlP

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