Integrating Quality of Life, Economic, and Environmental Issues: Agroecosystem Analysis of Amish Farming

Final Report for LNC95-091

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1995: $40,800.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1999
Matching Federal Funds: $10,800.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $15,600.00
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Deborah Stinner
Dept. of Entomology, OARDC, Ohio State University
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Project Information


[Note to online version: The report for this project includes tables, figures, and supplementary data that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact North Central SARE at (402) 472-7081 or]

Many Amish communities are thriving in the same market economy that is driving out so many other farm families. Our goal was to learn more about the basic principles that contribute to Amish sustainability and to use these findings to stimulate discussion in the larger society.


1. Determine quality of life and community values for case study Amish families
2. Analyze the economic efficiency of Amish agriculture with particular emphasis on quantifying economic benefits of community
3. Develop whole farm nutrient budgets of select Amish farms in Ohio to evaluate nutrient cycling efficiency of Amish agriculture
4. Facilitate discussion on how what we learn from the Amish can help other farm families balance quality of life, economic and environmental goals and become more sustainable.


The approach we used in this study is based on methods of agroecosystem assessment, which strongly incorporate a human ecology perspective and the influence of social factors, such as values and culture of farmers and their society on the structure and function of agroecosystems. Our results are based on intensive work with three case study Amish families and their farms in three different Amish church communities in Holmes County, OH.


Two of the families were Old Order Amish and one was New Order. A 4-5 year rotation of hay, corn, corn silage (on 2 of the farms), small grains/hay was used on the 82, 86 and 120 acre farms with 7-27 dairy cows. Important quality of life values included: (1) integrity of families and church communities, (2) living a simple Christian life, with minimal materialism, (3) small scale family farming, (4) shared labor with neighbors, (5) love of creation, and (6) living and working in a pastoral landscape rich in biodiversity. The Amish farms kept an average of 54% of their gross income as cash profit compared to 17% for 4 non-Amish dairy farms. In some years, the New Order Amish farm netted as much cash profit from 27 cows as a non-Amish dairy farm with 68 cows (not including labor for either). The Amish farms had very little hired labor costs compared to 13% on non-Amish dairy farms. Machinery costs on the Amish farms were 50% lower than non-Amish dairy farms. On the two Old Order Amish farms, having several income generating enterprises from a diversity of crops and livestock was important. On all three farms, shared labor within families and neighborhood work groups was a critical factor in sustainability in addition to being an important quality of life value. In studies of nutrient cycling efficiencies, ratios of nutrient inputs over outputs at the whole farm level averaged across the farms were: 2.4 for nitrogen, 2.3 for phosphorus, and 0.88 for potassium. The N ratios indicated a high level of nitrogen efficiency, derived primarily from N-fixation in legume hay crops. Two of the farms had corn yields in 1996 of 187 and 178 compared to a county average of 116 bu/ac.

Impacts and Potential Contributions

Discussions about this project played a key role in the development of the OSU Agroecosystems Management Program, particularly with respect to an appreciation of quality of life values and the importance of integrating them with economic and environmental considerations. We consider the most important lesson learned from our studies of direct relevance to non-Amish farmers to be the economic and social value of community cooperation.


Our goal in this study was to learn about the basic principles that contribute to Amish sustainability. The specific objectives were: (1) determine quality of life and community values for case study Amish families, (2) analyze the economic efficiency of Amish agriculture with particular emphasis on quantifying economic benefits of community, (3) develop whole farm nutrient budgets of select Amish farms in Ohio to evaluate nutrient cycling efficiency of Amish agriculture, and (4) facilitate discussion on how what we learn from the Amish can help mainstream farm families better balance quality of life, economic and environmental goals and become more sustainable. We used methods of ethnography and agroecosystem assessment, which strongly incorporates a human ecology perspective, with three case study Amish families and their farms in three different Amish church communities in Holmes County, OH. Two of the families were Old Order Amish and one was New Order. The New Order family had a milking machine and the largest herd of dairy cows (50 Jerseys) and 120 acres. A 5- year rotation of hay, corn, corn silage, oats/wheat, hay was used with rotational grazing. One of the Old Order families purchased a milking machine and expanded their herd from 10 to 17 Holstein cows. This farm had 82 acres with a 5-year rotation of hay, corn, corn silage, oats/spelts, and rotational grazing. The remaining Old Order family milked their herd of 7 Holstein cows by hand. This farm has 86 acres with a 4-year rotation of hay corn, oats/barley, hay and rotational grazing of pastures. This farm was highly diversified with multiple livestock enterprises and 5 acres of market vegetables. Important quality of life values included: (1) integrity of families and church communities, (2) minimal materialism and living a simple life of faithfulness to Christian teachings, (3) small scale family farming in which family members work together, (4) shared labor with neighbors, (5) love of creation, and (6) living and working in a tranquil pastoral landscape which is aesthetically attractive and contains a diversity of fields, croplands, woodlands and rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. For 1995-1996 the three farms kept an average of 54% of their gross income as cash profit compared to about 17% for 4 non-Amish dairy farms. In some years the New Order Amish farm netted as much cash profit from 27 cows as a non-Amish dairy farm with 68 cows (not including labor for either). There were very little hired labor costs on the Amish farms, a result of shared labor within families and neighborhood work groups. Machinery costs on the Amish farms were about 50% lower than 3 non-Amish dairy farms. On the two Old Order Amish farms, having several income-generating enterprises from a diversity of crops and livestock was important. On all three farms, shared labor within families and neighborhood work groups appeared to be a critical factor in sustainability in addition to being an important quality of life value. Nutrient inputs over outputs at the whole farm level were: 2.4 for nitrogen (this was 1.35 on the most profitable New Order Farm, compared to 3.5 on non-Amish dairy farms), 2.3 for phosphorus, and 0.9 for potassium. The nitrogen ratios indicate a high level of N cycling efficiency derived primarily from N-fixation in legume hay crops. Two of the farms had exceptional corn yields in 1996, 187 and 178 compared to a county average of 116 bu/ac. The most important lesson learned from our studies of direct relevance to non-Amish farmers was the economic and social value of community cooperation.

Project Objectives:

1. Determine quality of life and community values for case study Amish families.

2. Analyze the economic efficiency of Amish agriculture with particular emphasis on quantifying economic benefits of community.

3. Develop whole farm nutrient budgets of select Amish farms in Ohio to evaluate nutrient cycling efficiency of Amish agriculture.

4. Facilitate discussion on how what we learn from the Amish can help mainstream farm families better balance quality of life, economic and environmental goals and become more sustainable.


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Fred Hitzhusen
  • Richard Moore
  • Benjamin Stinner


Materials and methods:

Our objectives in this research were part of an overall approach to agroecosystem analysis (Conway 1985) and assessment (Marten 1988) and a human ecology perspective which links the numerous ecological processes within agroecosystems to human social systems (Marten and Saltman 1986). It is the social system with its worldview and values in interaction with the environment of a place that determines the structure and function of agroecosystems or farms (Marten and Saltman 1986, Stinner et al 1992). Agroecosystem structure incorporates all components of a farm ecosystem: e.g., all species and varieties of crops, livestock, weeds, pests, soil animals, and decomposer organisms. It also includes details of soil status and everything about inputs that shape the farm; the annual calendar of human activities in the fields, sources of labor, and how much capital and energy are employed (Marten 1988). Agroecosystem structure determines agroecosystem function, which consists of: (i) movements of materials (such as soil, water, nutrients and pesticides), energy and information from one part of the agroecosystem to another; and (ii) movements of materials, energy, and information in and out of agroecosystems (Marten 1988). While we did not measure all of these variables, this is the context in which our data were collected.

We obtained agreement with three Amish families belonging to three different church communities in Holmes County, Ohio to cooperate with us by providing information and allowing us to collect soil and plant samples from their farms. The following is a brief description of their farming operations. These families do not represent a random sampling for that is not our purpose in this work. Rather, these families were chosen for their commitment to sustainable agriculture and willingness to share their experience, knowledge and time with people outside their culture.

Farm 1. New Order Amish--120 acres, 70 tillable, 15 pasture, 35 woods; milking machine, 50 Jersey cows, 20 hogs, 150 chickens, 6 draft horses; 5-year rotation--hay, corn, corn silage, oats/wheat, hay, management intensive grazing used in pastures, hay fields and on crop fields after harvest; Community Supported Agriculture garden managed by the wife (Figure 1). Farmer 1 (David Kline) is author of two books and numerous articles on nature and an extremely effective communicator of Amish values and philosophy to non-Amish people as well as a master farmer. He and his family host various groups, such as college classes and Amish Study workshop participants, on their farm each year. In addition, David often is an invited speaker for college seminar programs and conferences on issues related to sustainable agriculture.

Farm 2. Old Order--no milking machine; 86 acres, 62 tillable, 20 pasture, 4 woods; 4-year rotation--hay corn, oats/barley, hay; rotational grazing used in pastures and fields; 7 Holstein cows, 7 draft horses, 15-20 hogs and 10 chickens are stable livestock; in addition the farmer runs at least one other major livestock operation depending on the market, baby calves in 1995, sheep in 1996 and 1997; in addition to the livestock enterprises, 5 acres of market vegetable production added to their already extremely diversified farm in 1996 (Figure 2). This is a young family with three children.

Farm 3. Old Order--milking machine adopted in 1996; 82 acres, 70 tillable, 9 pasture, 3 woods; 10-17 Holstein cows, 8 hogs, 15 chickens, 8 draft horses; 5 year rotation: hay, corn, corn silage, oats/spelts, hay; rotational grazing on some pastures. The grandfather recently retired from farming and set up a woodworking shop on the farm (Figure 3). The farm was rented and managed by one of the sons and his young family with 5 children.

Objective 1. Determine quality of life and community values for case study Amish families. The three Amish farm families we worked with in this study are located in the Killbuck Watershed in Holmes County, Ohio (Figure 4). Although they were not statistically or randomly chosen, we do get a degree of representedness in two ways if we consider that they are part of church districts.

First, the areas are representative of the north and south sections of the Amish settlement. The northern section is characterized by a higher density of subsects, proximity to urban settlements, and a higher rate of industrial employment while southern section is primarily Old Order, relatively more isolated, and is more hilly.

The second reason for being able to assert a degree of representedness is because each farm is a member of a large church group which consists of 30-40 households. Through their community involvement we were able to get an idea of their representedness. For example, we know that Farmer 1 is respected as a naturalist, writer and for being a minister - characteristics making him "unrepresentative". Yet, he was nominated to be a minister exactly because he was a good farmer, had a love of nature, and personified Amish ideals. Farmer 2 is also "unrepresentative" because he and his family still milk by hand even though their church recently voted to permit it. Yet he, too, is a respected member of his community-popular enough to be on the local school board. Farmer 3 is typical of the large extended family Old Order Amish.

Both investigators spent considerable time with the 3 families. In each case, though the participant observation led to direct with other members of their church communities. For example, for all farms, R. Moore and his graduate assistant participated in the oat threshing rings, hay baling and manure hauling. In two cased, R. Moore was invited to participate in the ceremonial meal which follows for all members of the ring who have worked all day.

Although the interviews were conducted in English, one graduate associate did speak some German which was welcomed. Whenever possible, we asked for the German dialect words which expressed significant ideas. All Amish in the study speak English fluently, so language did not pose a major problem.

Individual fields and their characteristics were identified by having the farmers draw their own maps which overlaid on the plat and topographic maps. These served as one means to conduct soil and yield tests (Objective 3). One set of aerial photos was also taken. Even though the Old Order Amish do not permit ("graven image") photos of the face, these aerial photos were appreciated by all. One picture presented to Farm 3 was hung up in the front room to be seen by everyone entering the home.

Participant observation and in-depth interviewing in both formal and informal settings was the basis for our understanding quality of life, community values and decision-making. In the course of collecting field management and economic information at the kitchen table (Objective 2), there was much informal sharing that gave us deep insight into the quality of life and community values of the three cooperating Amish families. In the beginning, these kitchen table sessions were primarily between the investigator and the farmer. However, they evolved into more of a family affair with the wives and children also being at the table. This has given us a much richer and more complete picture of Amish quality of life. In addition, Dr. Moore, as a male, participated in barn and fieldwork alongside the farmers and in community threshing and silo-filling ring activities. This allowed important direct observations which lended themselves to this objective. Dr. Stinner, as a female, was afforded opportunities denied to Dr. Moore to gain insight into the women's perspectives and values. More formally, the families were given a Personal Values Worksheet used in introductory Holistic Management workshops to fill out and return to the researchers, with specific directions to modify as they see needed to tailor to their culture.

One of the Amish quality of life values we learned about is love of nature and biodiversity on their farms, homesteads and communities. As part of an invited paper on this topic (Moore et al 1999), we conducted more in-depth studies on this topic. Interns from Oberlin University, Nell Hanson and Silas Patlove, conducted some limited biodiversity survey work on plants on the farms during July 1996.

In each farm's woodlot, three transects were run (two transects on Farm 2 because of the small woodland acreage) in which plants were identified and qualitatively ranked in relative abundance on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being rare and 5 being very abundant. The lists were shown to the families and dialect names and information on uses/values of the plants were collected.

In addition, we worked closely with the family on Farm 1 to learn about their observations and knowledge of birds on their farm. This family had been keeping a farm bird list for a number of years. They were asked to classify their farm into habitats in which they associate the various species and provide a list for each habitat. Dialect names were requested for those species that have them. To obtain some indication of how general this love of nature and biodiversity is among the Amish beyond our three case study families, back issues of Family Life, The Blackboard, and Young Companion, three magazines commonly read by the Amish of all ages, were analyzed for number of articles/issue related to nature and biodiversity.

Photos of individual fields from each farm were taken each month from the late spring of 1997 to the mid summer of 1998. These photos revealed the rotations and occasional skipping of rotations which led to further questioning about the rotations and rationale for changing rotations. The field photos will be presented to each of the families.

Objective 2. Analyze the economic efficiency of Amish agriculture with particular emphasis on quantifying economic benefits of community. The Wisconsin Whole Farm Economic Model template was used to address our economic objective (Figure 5a-f). We have found this to be much more Amish-friendly than FINANN or PLANETOR. Data can be collected on paper in a fashion that is not offensive to technology sensitive Amish families and the type of data required lends itself to dialog that provides in-depth insight into Amish farm management as well as economic information. From data collected for this model, we have detailed labor information on each enterprise on the Amish farms. In addition, the farmers were asked to keep calendars documenting their work in the fields and barn, which provides detailed information on what was done on each field, how long it took and who did it. We have a complete listing of all the machinery used and its dollar value as well as a measure of how much feed was required on a yearly basis to keep the draft horses. This was to be translated into energy equivalents (Kcal) in the model and compared on that basis to fossil fuel based farms.

We spent four days in June 1997 working with Mark Dittrich, now at the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, but formerly a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who worked on the Wisconsin Whole Farm Economic Model, consulting with us on this project to adapt that model for horse farming analysis. However, this proved to be more difficult than originally foreseen. A number of assumptions built into the model are not representative of Amish agriculture. For example, assumptions about machinery depreciation are automatically calculated for each enterprise. While this is true for some Amish farm machinery, we learned that some pieces appreciate. We also learned that mare draft horses appreciate for several years once they have foaled. Considerably more consulting with Dittrich would have been required to make adjustments in the model and this grant did not have the necessary resources. Therefore, it was decided that only direct costs would be used in economic analyses at this time. Data presented here are direct costs from the Wisconsin forms and from IRS Schedule Fs obtained from the three farms, used in the following analyses:

1. Whole Farm Economic Indicators - gross income, total cash expenses, net cash profit, net cash return per acre and % return of gross
2. Sources of Income as a percentage of gross income - livestock products, crops, other
3. "Leaky Bucket" (Stinner 1997) - itemized expenses as a percent of gross income
4. Richard Levins Indices of Sustainability (Levins 1995) - Government Payments, Energy and Machinery and Indicator of Feed Production and Crop Balance

While the original objectives of this grant did not include any comparisons of Amish and non-Amish economics, we had assess to economic data from a small group of non-Amish dairy farms collected during the same time frame as this study . It should be noted that these non-Amish farms all have a strong grazing component and are not typical Ohio dairy farms - so while they do not provide a typical comparison, they do give us something with which to compare the Amish farms. The non-Amish farm data was taken from FINANNs.

Objective 3. Develop whole farm nutrient budgets of select Amish farms in Ohio to evaluate nutrient cycling efficiency of Amish agriculture. We developed nutrient budgets for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and ratios of nutrient inputs over outputs to assess efficiency of these important nutrient cycles on the farms. This required farm records of cropping and livestock enterprises, and all purchased inputs containing N, P, and K. In order to evaluate nutrient flows of N, P, and K through the entire farms, we calculated the amount of each nutrient entering the farms as fertilizer, feed and nitrogen fixed by leguminous crops. Output of nutrients from the farms was determined through the amounts of nutrients leaving in either crop or animal (including milk) sales. Data for these calculations were obtained as a combination of farmer records and analyses of plant and manure samples. The calculations do not include estimates of environmental losses through erosion, leaching or volatilization. The data are expressed as total pounds of nutrients per farm on an annual basis.

In addition, because we desired to obtain information on the soil fertility status of these farms fter approximately 70 years of low chemical input and high organic input management, soil samples of all fields on each farm were collected in spring of 1996. Furthermore, we used the Late Spring Nitrate Test and Fall Stalk Test according to Blackmer (1991) on the corn fields on all three farms in 1996. This was used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate efficiency of nitrogen use on these Amish farms. In the fall of 1996, corn yields were measured.

0bjective 4. Facilitate discussion on how what we learn from the Amish can help mainstream farm families better balance quality of life, economic and environmental goals and become more sustainable. This objective was approached both formally and informally in a number of ways. Even before funding began, but soon after it was announced that this grant was to receive funding, this project and the Amish in general as a model of sustainability were selected as a case study for an interdisciplinary group of Ohio State University agricultural faculty and graduate students. For six months up until the grant began, this group voluntarily met (some of us had to drive two hours one way for these meetings) and discussed ideas and concepts stimulated by our study of the Amish. We visited the case study farms and talked with the Amish farmers. In general, natural scientists, at least, are often reticent to discuss things like quality of life and values. However, in studying a culture like the Amish, these topics cannot be avoided. The Amish helped that relatively small group move into many of the deepest issues in sustainable agriculture and helped very diverse scientists find common ground in new thinking territory. This group formed the core team of what is now the much larger Agroecosystems Management Program (AMP) at Ohio State. It is this program including its stakeholder members that are responsible for shaping a major new program at the university in agricultural ecology with administrative support and endowed funding from the Kellogg Foundation. David Kline, one of the Amish case study farmers in this study, is stakeholder member of that Program, d was a speaker in a seminar series sponsored by AMP in 1997. His presentation drew the largest crowd of the entire series that year.

The above is probably the most significant way this objective is being addressed. However, other approaches are being used in addition. David Kline was invited to be the keynote speaker for the 1996 annual Innovative Farmers of Ohio meeting. Dr. Stinner escorted David and Elsie Kline to Fostoria, Ohio for a special Catholic service honoring spirituality and the land for
Catholic farmers, gardeners and nature lovers on March 17, 1996. As a result of interactions between David Kline and an agricultural engineer member of the Agricultural Ecosystems Team, David was the invited speaker for the Wooster Kiwanis Club's "Ag Day" on March 12, 1997. The agricultural engineer became interested in collaborating on this project on the machinery aspects of Amish farming. Dr. Stinner was invited to present a seminar on this research at Ohio University in the Biology Department on March 7, 1997 and led an international graduate seminar group interested in global sustainability from the Department of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University in discussion and a field trip to the Kline farm on April 9, 1997. The Klines hosted a dinner at their farm on June 19, 1997 for the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Training Workshop. A Field Day was held August 16, 1997 at the Kline farm through this grant, the Innovative Farmers of Ohio and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, with about 100 very interested people attending.

Reaching audiences outside of Ohio, Dr. Stinner participated in Ed Martsolf's Amish Study Tour on September 9, 1996 as a presenter and discussion leader. Most members of that group were from Michigan's sustainable agriculture community, including farmers, university people and extension personnel. Similar discussions were held with members of Martsolf's Amish Study tour in 1997 and 1998. Another activity which reached audiences outside of Ohio was a field trip for a group of West Virginia extension agents doing training in sustainable agriculture on October 17, 1995 to Farms 1 and 2. Dr. Moore made presentations to Japanese audiences during a professional visit to Japan, July 1996 and is involved in a joint Japanese research project in which some of the Japanese researchers are very interested in the Amish. This research is paying for one graduate student to take pictures and make sound recordings, which are being conducted with cooperating family approval. In spring of 1998, Dr. Stinner coordinated a visit to Farm 1 for two visiting agricultural scientists from India interested in sustainable agriculture. In working with non-Amish farmers in whole farm planning activities and other SARE supported research and education, information and insights from this work often came into discussion.

Research results and discussion:

Objective 1. Determine quality of life and community values for case study Amish families.
All three case study families represented an extended family situation found on many Amish farms in which the retired (from farming) grandparents lives either in a separate apartment attached to the main farm house or in a separate "dawdy house" especially for the grandparent(s). The parents on Farm 1 had five children, three of which were married. One of the married children, a daughter, lived about a mile away with her four children and her husband, who was in the same threshing ring as Farm 1. The two families also were members of the same church group. The farmer's mother lived in the dawdy house on the farm. The two daughters who were left at home both were Amish school teachers, but also helped their father with the farm work. In all three families, milking was a whole family activity, except for the grandmothers who were physically unable to help.

The two New Order families were young families, with the oldest child being 10. On Farm 2 there were 3 children, a son and two daughters, 6 and 4 years. The son helped his dad in the barn and in the fields to a limited degree. The grandfather helps with some fieldwork. In the family on Farm 3, there were five children, 10-1.5 years, with the oldest being a boy, who also helped his father in the fields. There, the grandparents and three unmarried sisters also lived on the farm. The grandfather has a furniture making shop on the farm. The unmarried daughters help with the woodworking and fieldwork. In addition, one of them started a hydroponic tomato enterprise during the course of this study.

Farms 1 and 2 are about two miles from each other, are in the same neighborhood threshing ring and the farmers are good friends. However, they belong to different churches, which do not commune since a fissioning of the congregation in the 1970s. Using ethnographic methods, Dr. Moore has worked out the details of the threshing and silo-filling rings and the different churches each family belongs to and communes with. (In the Amish culture, a given church group will commune, i.e., members and ministers can visit each other's church services, with a set of other church groups, but not with others. For example, the Farm 2 family (Old Order) would not visit the New Order church services of the Farm 1 family and vice versa.).

Demographic data for all members of the 3 participating household church grou

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Crop Rotation and Cover Crop System. Final Report to NC SARE Program.

Voisin, A. 1960. Better Grassland Sward. Crosby, Lockwood & Son, London.

Wagler, E. 1996. The Puzzle Page: Our feathered friends. Blackboard Bulletin, April, p.23.

Wenger, J. C. 1956. The Complete Writings of Menno Simmons c. 1496-1561. Herald Press, Scottdale, PA. 1092 pp.

Table 2. Birds that the Kline Family Identify as Nesting or Wintering on Their Farm and Selected Migrants. Species which have Dialect names are given.
Hay and Tilled Fields

Spring Bobolink (Dolinchonyx oryzivorus)
Common Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammondramus savannarum)1
Horned Lark (Eremophilia alpestris)2
Killdeer (Charadrius vocoferus)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Ring-Necked Pheasant (Phasianuscolchicus)Fasant
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
Tree Swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor), in nest box
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)


Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) Ganz
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Mallard (Anus platyrhynchos)
Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) Schpätzli 3
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)4


Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virersens)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) Grob
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Amsel
Baltimore Oriole (Ictarus galbula)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
Common Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Cooper?s Hawk (Accipter cooperii)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Eastern Pewee (Contopus virens)
European Starling (Stirnus vulgaris)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Green Heron (Butorides striatus)
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) Zank Hahne
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erthrocephalus)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
Rufus-sided Towhee (Pipilo erthrophthalmus)
Ruby-throated Humingbird (Archilocus colubris) Screech Owl (Otus asio)
Tufted Titmouse (Purus bicolor)
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)
Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)6
Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)


American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)5
Baltimore Oriole (Ictarus galbula)
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Common Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)Bottarüsli
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) Eema Fressa
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) Dottle Daub
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) Schpätzli
Tree Swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor)
Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)


American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Amsel
Bobolink (Dolinchonyx oryzivorus)
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Common Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
Common Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (nestbox)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) Dottle Daub
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) Schpätzli
Willow Flycatcher (Empidomax trailli)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)6
Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)


American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Amsel
Baltimore Oriole (Ictarus galbula)10
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Scheur Schwalma
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)*
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Chimny Swift (Chaetura pelagica)7
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)*8
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonta) Dreck Schwalma
Common Grackle (Quiscalis quiscula)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
European Starling (Stirnus vulgaris)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)*
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Shbotz 9
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) Dottle Daub*
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)
Purple Martin (Progne subis)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Tree Swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor)
Tufted Titmouse (Purus bicolor)*
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)


Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) Ganz
Mallard (Anus platyrhynchos)

Migrants or Observed Flying Over Farm

American Coot (Fulica americana)
American Widgeon (Anas americana)
American Woodcock (Philohela minor)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-capped Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
Black Tern (Childonias niger)
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus)
Brown Creeper (Certhia familiaris)
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
Canvasback (Aytha valisineria)
Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea)
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)
Common Snipe (Capella gallinago)
Dunlin (Calisdris alpina)
Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiohona vespertina)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)
Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cuculattus)
Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina)
Kentucky Warbler (Oporonis formosus)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Northern Phalorope (Lobipes lobatus)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilympus podiceps)
Pintail (Anas acuta)
Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)
Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor)
Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata)
Redhead (Aythya americana)
Ring-necked Duck (Aytha collaris)
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Slate-colored Junco (Junco hyemalis)
Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
Sora (Porzana carolina)
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
Tundra Swan (Olor columbianus)
Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia abilcollis)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
1. Sparrows in oats fields
2. Feeds on seeds in manure, often fledged by April
3. Roadsides and grass banks
4. Children fed eggs and mash to ducklings
5. Hollow trees
6. Eats web worms (Hyphantria cnea)
7. Always there
8. Eats cabbage worms (Pieris rapæ)
9. Not many
10. Maple tree(Acer saccharinum)
* Nest in tree at different levels

Table 3. Elsie Kline's Butterfly List

Monarch (Danus plexippus)
Great Spangled Fritillary (speyeria cybele)
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria toddi)
Pearl Cresent (Phycoides tharos)
Milbert?s Tortoise Shell (Nymphalis milberti)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atlanta)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Vicory (Limenitis archippu
Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyzenesasterius)
Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Common Sulphur (Colias philodice)
European Cabbage Butterfly (Pieris rapae)
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Table 4. Plant Biodiversity and Relative Abundance in Amish Woodlots and Their Value to Amish Families.

Nomenclature___________Relative Abundance_______Value
English (Scientific) Dialect
______________________Farm 1__Farm 2__Farm 3


1. Ash sp.(Fraxinus sp.) Esha 5 5 1 A, furniture, firewood
2. Beech (Fagus grandifolia) Bucha 1 2 4 A, nice bark to carve names on, firewood
3. Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) Hickanis 5 5 3 A, firewood, lumber
4. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) Vild Kasha 5 4 3 A, furniture, firewood, fruit make good jelly, flowers
5. Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatic) 1 0 0 A, first tree to turn color in autumn
6. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) Valnus Baum 1 3 1 A, nuts used for food and to dye hunting traps
7. Choke Cherry (Prunus virginia) 2 0 0 A, very pretty when blooming
8. Dogwood (Cornus florida) Hundsholz 2 2 4 A, especially beautiful in spring blossom
9. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) Hulla Berrha 5 2 5 A, fruit for jelly and pies, wildlife food and cover
10. Elm sp. (Ulnus sp.) Rüsha 5 4 5 A, firewood, lumber
11. Hawthorne (Cataegus sp.) Donna Baum 5 5 0 A, bird habitat, furniture, lumber
12. Hornbeam (Ostrya virginia) 3 2 0 A, excellent firewood
13. Ironwood (Carprinus carloliana) Issah Baum 2 2 0 A, excellent firewood
14. Mulberry (Morus sp.) 0 0 1 A
15. Red Maple (Acer rubrum) 2 0 2 A, lumber, firewood
16. Red Oak (Quercus borealis) Rot Acha 1 2 2 A, lumber, firewood, nuts for wildlife
17. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) 2 2 5 A, tea from roots, wood for wagon beams & crates
18. Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) Hickanis 2 4 3 A, firewood, lumber, and nuts
19. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) 0 0 2 A
20. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Zucka 4 4 4 A, maple syrup, lumber, beautiful in autumn
21. Sumac(Rhus typhina) 0 0 1 A, berries used to dye hunting traps
22. Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium) Süs Kasha 4 2 3 A, furniture, firewood, flowers, fruit for jellies and pies
23. Sycamore (Platinus occidentalis) 0 0 1 A
24. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) Bobla 0 2 5 A
25. White Oak (Quercus alba) Weis Acha 1 1 1 A, lumber, firewood, nuts for wildlife
Herbaceaous and Shrubby Plants
1. Agrimony (Agrimonia sp.) 2 0 3
2. Avens sp. (Geum sp.) 5 3 5
3. Aster (Aster sp.) 5 4 5 A
4. Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) 1 0 0 Wildlife habitat
5. Bedstraw (Galium sp.) 2 2 4
6. Beechdrop (Epifogus virginiana) 1 0 1
7. Bindweed sp. (Convolvulus sp.) 1 0 1
8. Blackberry (Rhubrus spp.) Black Berrha 2 4 3 Delicious jams, jellies, pies: wildlife habitat
9. Black Cohosh (Cimifuga racemosa) 0 0 3
10. Black Raspberry (Rhubrus spp.) 4 0 4 Delicious jams, jellies, pies: wildlife habitat
11. Black Snakeroot (Sanicula marilandis) 4 2 5
12. Broad-leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) 1 2 0
13. Burdock (Actinum minus) Gletta 3 2 1
14. Campers Friend (Verbascum thapus) 0 1 0
15. Chickweed (Stellaria media) 0 1 0
16. Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoices) 1 0 0 A
17. Cinquefoil sp. (Potentilla sp.) 5 2 3 A
18. Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatem) 0 0 1
19. Common Speedwell (Veronica officinalis) 0 1 0
20. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) 0 2 0 Wine
21. Daisey Flebane (Erigeron strigesus) 3 2 1 Butterflies
22. Dark Green Bull Rush (Scripus atrovireus) 5 0 0
23. Deer Tonque Grass (Panicum sp.) 5 0 0
24. Enchanters Nightshade (Ciraea alpina) 5 3 5
25. Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) 0 0 1
26. False Solomon Seal (Smilacina racemosa) 5 0 0
27. Foxtail Sedge (Carex vulpinoidea) 5 0 0
28. Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) 0 0 1 Roots sold for medicine
29. Golden Ragwort (Senecio aureus) 2 0 0 A
30. Grape (Vitis spp.) 0 0 4
31. Great Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) Wärmet 4 2 1
32. Greenbriar (Smilax spp.) 2 0 3
33. Green-headed Cone Flower (Rudbeckia laciniata) 4 0 0 A
34. Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) 2 5 0
35. Hairy Wood Mint (Blephilia hirsuta) 1 0 1
36. Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris) 4 0 1 Used in healing ointments
37. Hog Peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata) 3 3 5
38. Honwort (Cryptotanenia canadensis) 4 0 5
39. Horse-balm (Collinsonia canadensis) 2 0 0
40. Ironweed (Vermonica altissima) 3 1 0 A, nice for bouquets, good for butterflies
41. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Artisaema atrorubens) 1 0 1 A
42. Jacob?s Ladder (Polenomium van-bruntiae) 2 2 2 A
43. Jewel Weed (Impatiens sp.) 5 3 3 A, exploding seed pods beautiful, red fall berries
44. Joe-pye-weed (Eupatorium dubium) 0 1 0 A. habitat for diverse insect fauna (Kline 1996c)
45. Lady's Thumb (Polygonum persicaria) 5 5 5
46. Lion's Foot (Prenanthes serpentaria) 1 0 0
47. Lopseed (Phryma leptostachya) 2 1 0
48. Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) Mai äpfel 2 3 4 Chilren call them umbrellas
49. Meadow parsnip (Thaspium trifoliatum) 1 0 0
50. Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) 4 0 0
51. Multi-flora Rose (Rosa multiflora) 5 5 5 Rose hips, pretty flowers, wildlife cover, but also pest
52. Mustard sp.(Brassica sp.) 0 0 1
53. Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) 1 0 0
54. Plantain (Planta major) 0 3 0
55. Poison Ivy (Rhus raticans) "Gift" (poison) 5 5 5
56. Prickly Dogberry (Ribes cyanosbati) 1 1 1
57. Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) 0 2 0
58. Ragweed (Abrosia artemisiifolia) 0 0 1
59. Rattle Snake Fern (Botrychium virginianum) 0 0 1
60. Rush sp. (Juncus sp.) 3 0 0
61. St. Johnswort (Hypericum punctatum) 0 0 1
62. Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) 0 0 1
63. Smartweed (Polygonum sp.) 2 2 2
64. Spotted St. Johnswort (Hypericum denticulatum) 1 0 0
65. Square-stemmed Monkey-flower (Mimulus ringnes) 0 0 1
66. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) "Bren-esel" 5 4 5
67. Strawberry (Frageria virginiana) Ab Berrha 0 2 1
68. Sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytoni) 5 3 5
69. Teasel (Dipsicus sylvestris) 0 1 0
70. Thistle (Cirsium sp.) Distle 0 2 0
71. Timothy (Phleum prarense L.) Demedy 3 0 0
72. Violet sp. (Viola sp.) 5 5 5 A
73. Virgina Creeper (parthenocissus quiquefolia) 5 3 5
74. Water Horehound (Lycopus virginicus) 0 0 1
75. White Clover (Trifolium repens) Weisa glëh 0 3 0
76. White Vervain (Verbena virginicus) 0 0 1
77. Wild Carrot (Daucus carotus) Vilda Carrot 0 2 0
78. Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) 1 0 0 A, very beautiful
79. Wild Lettuce (Latuca canadensis) 1 1 1
80. Wild Licorice (Galium cireazans) 0 0 1
81. Wild Rye (Elymus sp.) 3 0 0
82. Wingstem (Actinomerus alternafolia) 1 0 0 A, nice in bouquets
83. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Shofe Ribba 0 2 3 Dried flowers, tea
84. Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis europaea) 5 2 0

1. Relative Abundance numbers are the means of multiple transects

Table 5. List of Vegetables and Fruit Grown in the Kline Vegetable Garden and Orchard.

Apples (Malus malus)
Argula (Eruca sativa)
Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) green, yellow, Lazy Wife*
Beets (Beta vulgaris)
Blueberries (Vacinium spp.)
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea)
Brussel Sprouts (Brassica oleracea, Grmmigera group)
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea), red and green
Carrots (Daucus carota var.sativus)
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)
Cherries, sweet (Prunus avium) and sour (P. cerasus)
Chinese Cabbage(Brassica rapa)
Collard Greens (Brassica oleracea, Acephala group)
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus), 2-3 kinds, Mose Troyer Pickle
Eggplant (Solanum melongena)
Flowers, fresh and dried
Grapes (Vitus sp.)
· Dill (Anethum graviolens)
· Mints (Menthe spp.)
· Oregano (Origanum heraclioticum)
· Parsley (Petroselinium crispum)
Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum)
Lettuce (Latuca sativa) 6 kinds, Rob Ada and Winter
Melons, cantalopes (Cucumis melo) and watermelons (Citrullus lanatus)
Mustard Greens (Brassica juncea)
Okra (Abelmoshcus esculentus)
Onions (Allium fistulosum), 3-4 kinds, Bottle
Parsnips (Pasinaca sativa)
Peas (Pisum sativum), green and sugar snap
Peppers (Capiscum annuum) many kinds, Paul Susie
Popcprn (Zea mays) Ladyfinger
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) red, white and yellow
Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) pie, carving, minature
Radicchio (Cichorium intybus)
Radishes (Raphanus sativus), 3-4 kinds
Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)
Spinach (Spinacea oleracea)
Strawberries (Fragraia virginiana)
Sweet Corn (Zea mays)
Summer Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), 5-6 kinds, Siberian and a non-acid Variety
Winter Squash (Cucurbita maxima), butternut (C. moshata) saves seed
Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)

* Heirloom varieties

Research conclusions:

If many farmers adopted the farming practices used by the Amish farmers we are collaborating with, there would no doubt be major environmental, economic and quality of life impacts. However, the intent of our work is not to promote Amish farming practices for non-Amish farmers. Rather, it is to illustrate that there are small scale and family/community based alternatives that really do work and in so doing to encourage people to stop and think about their own lives and values with respect to sustainability issues. Our results to date indicate that there are some real economic benefits to low overhead horse-based agriculture within a community context, especially when combined with reduced cost of living needs.

Furthermore, our nutrient budget work suggests that these Amish farms may be even more efficient at cycling nitrogen than even organic and management intensive grazing farms, and be profitable. Nor do the Amish farmers in our study suffer yield reductions as a result of their low-chemical input and technological practices; indeed, they did well above average. While these findings are still preliminary, they have some very interesting ramifications with respect to potential contributions of this work.

Both the researchers and the farmers in this project have noted how important it is to really understand the functioning of these farms to collect both field and economic data over a full rotation cycle, which means further scientific study. In addition, many new research questions have arisen from our work to date. For example, how much nitrogen do Amish farmers actually get out of their winter applied manure? According to conventional agronomic thinking, it should not be very much, however, the Late Spring Nitrate Test results in our study indicate sufficient N levels, as do our measured corn yields. What are the soil ecological mechanisms which control nutrient availability in Amish soils? What role does organic matter play? How much soil actually erodes on Amish farms (in contrast to estimating soil erosion with the USLE)? What are the environmental impacts of Amish practices with respect to water quality in their watersheds? How does the biodiversity of Amish farming communities compare to conventional farming communities? The concept and principle of flexibility appear to be very important in these systems and we are interested in identifying indices of flexibility.

Along more social lines, what about the women's and childrens' roles? We are collecting rich and detailed information from the men--the farmers, but an Amish farm is not successful without a strong and skilled wife and mother. Although a patriarchal culture, we have observed that Amish women have considerable influence and are critical in maintaining the integrity of Amish society. And there are many larger scale social questions about the history and evolution of church districts, threshing rings, inheritance patterns which could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the principles which have allowed the Amish people to sustain themselves so well. For example, one of our most surprising discoveries has been that some church district fissioning appears to follow watershed lines. We are interested in investigating this intriguing interaction between landscape ecology and social phenomena further.

Farmer Adoption

At least 50 farmers were in the audience when David Kline gave the key note address at the 1996 annual Innovative Farmers of Ohio (IFO) meeting in Delaware, OH on January 20. David has been requested to write regular articles for the IFO newsletter, which provides some indication that he has had a significant impact on farmers in that organization. At least 100 people attended the Kline Field Day Aug. 16, 1997 and there was so much interest that we had a very difficult time getting people to leave so the Kline family could do their evening chores. This an example of a more general phenomena that illustrates an important role Amish farmers can and are playing for some mainstream farm families--as role models and "spiritual" leaders, not necessarily in a religious sense, but in helping them through the paradigm shift and transition struggle which accompanies adopting sustainable agriculture approaches. In this context, quality of life issues become central, since most mainstream farmers are not going to adopt Amish horse powered agricultural practices per se, but happy, viable Amish farm families and communities become important sources of inspiration.

Specific recommendations we would make to farmers in terms of day-to-day operations as a result of our study thus far would include: keep your overhead down; be diversified in your enterprises; do not be a slave to technology, control it instead of it controlling you; learn to be happy living a simple life, finding joy in working close to the earth and with your family and with your neighbors whenever possible; and bigger does not have to be better.

Involvement of Other Audiences

In addition to farmers attending the 1996 Innovative Farmers of Ohio meeting in which David Kline was the keynote speaker, there was another group of about 50 people which included extension agents, graduate students, university faculty and administrators, and even policy makers. Dr. Stinner's interaction with people from Michigan on the 1996 Amish Study Tour with Ed Martsolf included about 20 people many of whom were NRCS, Extension or university people and including a journalist. The West Virginia group, which numbered 7, hosted in October 1995 was all Extension personnel. Dr. Stinner presented a talk on the Amish at a Wayne County Professional In-service Day in Wooster, OH on October 20, 1995. There were about 100 K-12 teachers in that audience. The audience at the Ohio University seminar given by Dr. Stinner on March 7, 1997 included about 75 faculty, staff and students from the university. The Case Western Reserve University group numbered about 10 graduate students, their professor and his wife. These students were literally from all over the world, extremely bright and talented and very dedicated to facilitating sustainability globally. The ramifications of their exposure to the Amish is bound to be significant. On June 19, 1997, the Klines hosted a dinner for 65 people involved in the North Central Region SARE Sustainable Agriculture Training Session. Feedback from people involved indicate that it was a very important experience for them. Finally, the presentation given on this work at the University of Nebraska was part of seminar series on small scale farming and involved a diverse audence of university people, farmers and interested citizens. Lively discussions ensued at all these events.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:


Moore, R. H. 1996. Sustainability and the Amish: Chasing Butterflies? Culture and Agriculture Winter 1995/1996 No.53:24-25.

Moore, R. H., D. H. Stinner and D. Kline. Honoring creation and tending the garden: Amish views and value of biodiversity on their farms and in their communities. in Human values of biodiversity, D. Posey and G. Dutfield (eds). Cambridge University Press. (In press). Special volume for the UN Environmental Programme Global Assessment of Indigenous People.


Stinner, D. H. 1995. The Amish, their history, culture and agriculture. Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, to a group of extension agents from West Virginia visiting Ohio for in-service training on sustainable agriculture, in preparation for visits with Amish families. October 17, 1995

Stinner, D. H. 1995. The history, their culture and their values. Wayne County Professional In service Day, Wooster, OH. October 20, 1995.

Moore, R. H. 1996. Criteria for Amish farming landscape evaluation. Conference on Computer Landscape Simulation of Rural Landscapes. Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, July 17, 1996.

Stinner, D. H. 1996. Led discussion and presented data as part of an Amish Study Tour. September 9, 1996.

Stinner, D. H., R. H. Moore, and B. R. Stinner. 1997. The Amish and sustainability: preliminary observations. Dept. of Biology, Ohio University, Athens, OH. March 7, 1997.

Moore, R. H. 1997. Preliminary thoughts about land tenure, the organization of work groups and kinship among the Holmes County Amish. AgroEcology Seminar Series, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. March 11, 1997.

Stinner, D. H. 1997. Presented data and led discussion at OARDC in Wooster and at Kline farm in Holmes County for a group of graduate students the Dept of Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University. March 19, 1997.

The Amish research by Moore/Stinner was briefly mentioned at a Yale University Conference titled Globalization, Agricultural Policy, and Rural Change. April 4th and 5th, 1997. Sponsored by the Institute for Social and Policy Studies and Program in Agrarian Studies.

Kline, D. and D. H. Stinner. 1997. Field Day at Kline farm. Answered questions, presented data and led discussion. Kline Farm, Holmes County, OH, Aug. 16, 1997.

Stinner, D. H., R. Moore, B. Stinner and F. Hitzchusen. 1998. Integrating quality of life, economic and environmental issues:agroecosystem analysis of Amish farming. USDA?s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program 1988-1998 Conference. March 5-7, 1998.

Stinner, B. R. and D. H. Stinner. 1998. Agroecosystems analysis to improve farm viability. The Program for Ecosystem-Based Management of Agricultural and Natural Lands. University of Illinois-Champaign - College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences. April 22, 1998.

Moore, R. H. 1998. El Nino and Amish Farming, invited by The Sustainable Human Ecosystems Laboratory, the Department of Anthropology, and the Society and Environment Group of the Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia at Athens. May 29th.

Stinner, D. H. 1998. Innovation guided by culture: studies of Amish farms in Ohio. Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program seminar series: Alternative Farming Systems for the Midwest: Countering the Trend toward Fewer, Larger Farms. Lincoln, Nebraska. September 29, 1998.

Moore, R. H. 1998. El Nino and Amish Farming Flexibility, American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, December 3.


This grant was the primary stimulus for the following grants which have been submitted.

Moore, R. H. (PI), D. Stinner, B. Stinner and A. Ward. Kin and Settlement Pattern Continuity, System Flexibility and Nitrate Soil and Water Quality in the Killbuck Watershed. NSF/EPA Watershed Grant Competition.

DeLeon, M. K., R. H. Moore, and D. H. Stinner. An On-line Agroecosystem Database for Multimedia Teaching of Agricultural and Cultural Diversity in Holmes County, OH. Proposal for Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs. Funded $46,500.

Other Related Projects:

1. During the course of the research for this project in 1995, it was noticed that Amish farms have an extraordinary density of fireflies which reach their peak over the pre-harvested oat fields in late July. As a result Richard Moore, Ben Stinner (OARDC), Marc Branham (Museum of Biological Diversity/OSU), and Farm 1 and 2 operators have teamed together to investigate the possible significance of fireflies as an environmental indicator. During 1998 we recorded (for the first time, we believe) firefly larvae in agricultural fields and intend to publish the results after more thorough sampling during 1999.

2. This project also indirectly contributed to a project funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education and Science where R. Moore was co-investigator and head of the international team investigating Computer Simulation of Rural Landscape. The American team (R. Moore Anthropology/OSU and Midori Kitagawa, Advanced Computing Center in Arts and Design, OSU) selected the Amish as a case study to construct an on-line role-playing game that teaches about Amish culture and farming sustainability. The game incorporates hundreds of graphic pictures taken on Farms 1, 2, and 3 and focuses on agricultural decision-making throughout the life of an Amish diary farmer. It is expected that after further development, this game will have extensive use in Ohio's public schools to increase awareness about the Amish and Amish farming. This multimedia project, which has ended until further funds can be found to continue it, can be found at and is most compatible with Netscape 3.0 or above net browsers. The site requires authentication and the site user should . In the future the game will have fun games and other features such as Amish voices and sound after receiving input from students, teachers, researchers, and Amish farmers. The site requires authentication and the password permission can be obtained from Interested users and researchers should briefly state their objectives in one or two sentences. During the course of this Ministry of Education and Science grant that funded this, a total of 4 Japanese co-investigators visited the field site farms. These included Professors Tadashi Hasebe, P.I. as well as professors Masakazu Nagaki (Ag. Econ, Tsukuba University), Fumio Osanami (Ag. Econ, Hokkaido University), and Kazuhiro Matsuda (Entomology, Tohoku University). The following research report has been published:

Moore, Richard and Midori Kitagawa De Leon. 1998. Amishu no tochi Riyo (Land Use of the Amish). In Maruchi Media wo Katsuyo shitta Noson Keikan no Hyoka ni kan suru Kodo Kenkyu (Joint Research on Rural landscape Evaluation Using Multimedia). Joint Research Report for 1996-97 Grant 08044021 Japanese Ministry of Education and Science, International Academic Research. Tadashi Hasebe, P. I. Tohoku University, College of Agriculture. pp 84-86.

3. Professor Shigeru Usami, Department of Agricultural Economics of Utsunomiya University was hosted during the summer of 1997 and visited the Farms 1, 2, and 3 during the visit. Dr. Usami is on the Board of Advisers for the Japanese National Association of Organic and Sustainable Marketing and has worked with R. Moore on other Japanese research. Dr. Usami visited the site again when he visited in 1998 when he came to speak on Japanese Consumer Cooperatives to the OSU Agroecosystems Management Team.

A journalist was among the Amish Study Tour group in September 9, 1996 and she wrote a newspaper article in Michigan on her experiences and observations.

Project Outcomes


Areas needing additional study

Specific new research questions suggested by our work thus far are presented in the section on Potential Contributions. The basic work we are doing on this project needs to be continued at least through a full rotation cycle to gain a comprehensive fundamental understanding of the ecology and agronomics of Amish agriculture. The funding level of this project has limited the ecological research to what can be done by a part time researcher with little or no technical assistance. There is much more that could be done to increase our understanding of fundamental mechanisms at work in sustainable farming systems. For example, in spring of 1996 the Klines on Farm 1 purchased a neighboring farm to theirs that was not Amish and had been more or less neglected for many years. We are documenting as much as we possibly can of this natural restoration "experiment," including ethnographic information and soil and weed response data (with the assistance of a new collaborator, John Cardina, weed ecologist at OARDC), but much more could be learned from this opportunity that could be beneficial to sustainable agriculture in general.

Also beyond the scope of this project is looking at a wider range of Amish farms. While our farms are representative of their type of Amish farming operations, they were not randomly selected and we cannot generalize beyond their boundaries. A growing number of Amish families are moving into vegetable production with the development of a new wholesale market in Holmes County (initiated by a group of Amish growers). This is having numerous ecological, economic and social impacts which we were not able to document within the scope of the current project. Effects of Amish agriculture on watershed dynamics is another research area that has been raised by this project that is beyond the current scope.

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.