When you’re driving around Lancaster County, especially at Harvest time, you’re bound to see people working out in their fields, the English with their motor powered equipment, and the Amish with their mule or horse drawn equipment!
While farming was not an integral tenet of Anabaptism, agriculture has always been a major part of the Amish lifestyle. Believing that practical knowledge, hard work and long hours are the “technological marvels” that make farm life fruitful, the Amish practice thrift and self-sufficiency, which they believe are mandated by the Bible.
For the Amish, farming is not merely a job or career; it is viewed as a way of life anchored in Scripture, blessed by God and handed down over the generations by Amish ancestors. It provides a seedbed for nurturing strong families in the values of hard work, frugality, responsibility, simplicity and family cooperation.
Horses and mules are a trademark identity of the Amish and their farming, used to plow, cultivate and harvest crops. They maintain a slower farming pace, preserving jobs that are the heartbeat of the Amish community. Over time, additional farm equipment with independent powers sources (such as wagons, corn planters, plows and sprayers) was permitted on the fields to increase productivity, as long as it was adapted for horse-drawn use. This compromise is what preserves the Amish tradition and identity while allowing just enough progress for farmers to remain competitive.