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FECTU Webinar: Draft horses and mules among the Amish of North America

Draft horses and mules among the Amish of North America About speaker, Dale K. Stoltzfus: I was born in 1951 on a dairy farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My father and mother and my 5 sisters and I all worked hard to take care of the 45 dairy cows and their replacements as well as the 2000 laying hens we kept. We carried all the milk from the cows in buckets to pour into the bulk tank in the milk house and we carried all the eggs in baskets to be washed and packed into cartons to send to a wholesale egg processor. I spent many happy hours playing with my dog Lady too. I spent 11 years managing my own retail food business and then 25 years as a Realtor helping people to find homes and farms. I have always had a special affinity for animals, especially horses. In 1988 I bought a pair of Belgian mares. I chose heavy horses so that I could further my latent horse interests by taking my family and friends on wagon rides. As I learned more about heavy horse activities that were going on around me, I became more drawn into life-fulfilling experiences I could not have imagined. These include my volunteer work with Horse Progress Days and my work with the annual Pennsylvania Draft Horse Sale, both of which have had major impacts in the Draft Horse culture of North America. I grew to adulthood in a community-at-large that, because of a major Amish presence, has always taken the presence of Draft animals for granted, but my own interest has always been extra keen; partly because of the horses and partly because of the unlikelihood that a group of Christian religionists who relied on horsepower to farm could exist and thrive in modern times; this in a country that prides itself on what it defines as progressive innovation in all things. Furthermore, my involvement with Horse Progress Days has unexpectedly opened my life experience into developing friendships and acquaintance with people from many parts of the world. Lately I have become aware of the "Millenium Goals" of the United Nations to eliminate hunger throughout the world by the year 2030. I believe draft animal power could play a major role in this effort if it is recognized for what it is and what it has to offer. My latest efforts include working toward a cultural exchange program supported by a partnership between Horse Progress Days and the international aid organization Mennonite Central Committee that is making plans to bring a Tanzanian agricultural engineer to eastern PA to work with local Amish shops to develop equipment and harness for oxen and donkeys to be made with components that are readily available in Tanzania. I also take great pleasure in working with my own horses making hay on our own land and on the lands of a neighboring Amish farmer.
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FECTU's YouTube Channel

Since July 2020, FECTU has been promoting a monthly webinar, covering different topics focused on health and welfare of working animals, but also on different uses in all kinds of activities. These webinars will continue in 2021 and are included in the continuous training programme, as a way to share knowledge and bring together professionals from different areas, having in common the passion for animal traction and working animals. As a result, FECTU has launched the new YouTube channel, where all the webinars will be available. We hope you will enjoy the content of this channel!
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Association PROMMATA INTERNATIONAL

PROMMATA International (P.I.) is an association that is committed to promoting modern animal traction in developing countries in order to support ecological agriculture of small farmers still relying mainly on manual work. Cooperation with the partners of the association aims to provide equipment, to offer training and to relieve the physical strains of farming men and women in order to improve their agroecological practice and their income. P.I. has unique expertise regarding agricultural equipment for animal traction and has run projects in different countries of the Maghreb and the Sahel as well as in Madagascar and in Mexico. The association also has specific experience and practice regarding cooperation linked to the development of local expertise (construction workshops, training and using work animals, breeding and agricultural practices) The modern equipment for animal traction is manufactured on site in the workshops of the partners in the developing countries, relying on the transfer of know-how through international missions and training provided by the P.I. experts.
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