Why Cows Learn Dutch
And Other Secrets of the Amish Farm
The Kent State University Press
A fascinating look at life in a separatist society
“Laced with humor and delight, this intriguing account provides first-time glimpses into daily life on Amish farms.”— Donald Kraybill
In Why Cows Learn Dutch and Other Secrets of the Amish Farm, Randy James offers an engaging view of Amish farm life, society, and values. An agricultural extension agent for twenty years, James works closely with the Amish farmers of Geauga County, Ohio, the fourth largest Amish settlement in the world, and his narrative provides new, accurate information on the Amish and their farming practices.
This richly layered book is a collection of gentle, often humorous stories about the art, science, and tradition of farming as well as a probing analysis of the Amish farm business. James includes helpful, empirical descriptions of Amish farming practices and delves into the amazing economic efficiency of a work horse and the streamlined management and marketing system of a fifty-chicken flock. Accompanied with drawings by Amish artist Crist C. Miller, James recounts his experiences driving a massive team of Belgian draft horses, gathering thin cold sap to boil into delicate maple syrup, hand milking a Holstein cow, and praying with the family before a hearty midday meal.
Why Cows Learn Dutch illustrates an alternative business model in which small traditional farms are able to effectively compete in an industry dominated by huge corporate farms. It will appeal to those interested in the Amish lifestyle and farming practices.
Randy James received his Ph.D. in agronomy from Ohio State University and has served as county agricultural agent in the Geauga County Amish Settlement for more than twenty years. He is also an associate professor for Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. James was cochair of the first national conference for professionals working with Amish and other Anabaptist communities. He resides in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Crist C. Miller is one of very few Old Order Amish professional artists. His work is displayed in his own Country Art Gallery in Burton, Ohio.