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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 
May 9 - Farmers across America ditch tractors for oxen in bid to beat rising fuel prices

Article: Signs Of The Last Times
 

When farmers Danielle and Matt Boerson realised they could no longer afford to run their tractors, they took the bull by the horns - and ditched them for oxen. Soaring petrol prices had become so high that the couple, who run an 80-acre farm near Madison, Wisconsin, were forced to get rid of their two tractors, hay baler, plough and rotavator.

So they took a course at the agricultural institute in traditional farming techniques. Their instructor was former peace core volunteer Dick Roosenberg, 64, who learned the trade while working for the UN in West Africa. He is already teaching up to 20 farmers every weekend.

'People want to get away from petroleum fuels where they can, because it's getting more expensive,' he said.

A pair of plough-ready oxen cost $3,000 (1,800) - roughly the same as a second hand tractor. But younger cattle are a snip at $150 each. They only eat grass and can work for up to 14 years. They are also a handy source of fertilizer and can be eaten when they die. The only downside is that they are slow and are not viable on a large farm. They are however perfect for 'small farms, with high-value garden crops', said Mr Roosenberg.

Todd Juzwiak, 42, bought two oxen after learning how to command them with Mr Roosenberg. He told the Times: 'We are definately saving on fuel. Though it's not necessarily easier. Tractors don't often jump over fences.'

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