Small Farm Efficiency

People in increasing numbers are seeking limited acreage where they can enjoy the rural way of life, including horses. For some the small farm must at least be operated efficiently in order to be affordable.
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Small Farm Efficiency
When a small farm is home to large animals, such as horses, one must be conscious of the effect manure and runoff can have on water supplies. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

A growing number of owners want to keep their horses at home on small farms; here are some tips on doing it wisely.

There was a time in the United States when the majority of people lived on farms, large and small, or at least resided in rural communities. Horses were the power to plow, cultivate, and harvest, as well as transport the family. The development of sophisticated farming equipment and technology as part of the industrial revolution changed everything. Today, a very small segment of the country’s population produces the food and fiber consumed by the populace, and an even smaller segment uses horses for its farm work.

Cities grew during that changeover period as people left rural communities in droves for greater challenges and opportunities in metropolitan areas. Rural communities shrank as farms became larger and fewer, and some small towns even disappeared.

In recent years there has been a return to the land. People in ever-increasing numbers are seeking limited acreage where they can enjoy the rural way of life, including horses. For those with the financial means, making money from the small farm or acreage is not a goal; but for others, the small farm must at least be operated efficiently in order to be affordable

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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