Scenic USA - Pennsylvania

Mifflin County Farm

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Mifflin County Farm - Pennsylvania

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Autumn, a time of vivid foliage, roasted chestnuts, fresh baked apple pie and the smell of turkey wafting from the oven. It's also a time of hard work gathering up the bounty of what Mother Nature has provided. Lost to an age of mechanical combines, this central Pennsylvania Amish farm scene was typical a hundred years ago. Armed with a corn knife, corn shock tier and a ball of twine, corn stalks were cut above ground level, gathered in a bundle and tied together in shocks to dry. A farmer and his son would typically harvest 10 to 20 acres to feed and bed their livestock over the winter. Even though the days are shorter in the fall, an 18 row combine can zip through 10 acres in a matter of hours.
   Continuing traditional customs, todayís Amish are feeling the heat from the Federal Government. The Amish, numbering more than 150,000 throughout the United States, feel itís best to put children to work and learn a trade after grade 8. Due to Federal laws youngsters are barred from working around machinery in sawmills and woodworking facilities. Amish Horsepower Amish, striving to keep their younger generations busy and well away from worldly temptations, put children to work in shops and on the farm. With customs that prevent the use of computers, televisions and cell phones, their simplistic ways and strong work ethic seem to clash with modern law and culture.
   Today, when unemployment rates remain high, many agricultural type jobs still go unfilled. Unable to entice the unemployed, much of this work is done by migrant workers and immigrant laborers. Amish communities, most with large families, typically have little problem with a shortage of skilled labor. An added benefit, most Amish farms naturally employ low cost farming techniques that have been around for centuries. With rising costs of fuel, fertilizer and equipment on modern farms, the Amish are now benefiting from the soaring prices of farm products.

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