The Amish are virtually synonomous with farming. And for good reason. As late as the 1970’s, more than 70% of the Amish were farmers. Though many of today’s Amish have ventured into other realms of employment, particularly woodworking and construction, farming remains a staple to the Amish way of life.
Amish farming is powered mainly by horse and plow rather than tractor and combine. Most Amish farmers will use pesticides, but manure remains the fertilizer of choice on the Amish farm. While resourceful, this practice can lead to less than pleasant odors on dewey summer mornings in Amish country!
Farming is a way of life that has been passed on through every generation of Amish in America. Since the mid 1800’s, Amish farms in Lancaster, Pennsylvania have been growing tobacco. An integral part of Lancaster farming, tobacco can be seen all across the county from spring through fall. Corn, alfalfa, and a variety of grains are also common crops.
Outside of the Lancaster community, dairy and poultry farming are most common. Because they do not require a vast amount of land, produce farms and organic farming are also growing in popularity among the Amish.
The Amish view farming as caring for God’s land, and communing with nature is believed to be communing with God Himself. So for the Amish, farming is more than a way to make a living. It’s a way of life.