Farming Without Tractors: Stephen Leslie on Draft Power

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Fall plowing at Stephen Leslie’s Cedar Mountain Farms

Do you imagine Farmer Joe sitting on a tractor?

Or does your mind go somewhere more traditional, to a stomping oxen or a horse-drawn plow?

Animal, or draft, power used to play a central role in American agriculture, but in the last sixty or seventy years, machines have taken over.

Many Amish and Mennonite communities never stopped using draft power, but now a new generation of young farmers is taking it up as well.

Stephen Leslie is the author of The New Horse-Powered Farm and an enthusiastic advocate of animal-driven agriculture.