I'll tell you what...when I received the latest issue of Small Farm Canada magazine I found an article that really got me thinking. It was written by Rhona McAdam and the article is called Apres Oil . I had never really thought of "oil running out". I mean when I hear myself say those words it still seems kinda silly even considering how much the topic has been discussed in recent years. That couldn't really happen in our lifetime right? But the article didn't go on to discuss the world physically running out of oil...it discussed what would happen in the very realistic scenario that the price of diesel fuel increases by three fold in the matter of a few months. What would happen if during any given future summer, the cost of diesel went up so much that it was impossible to harvest the seeded and growing crops. Could that actually happen? Would the government step in to allow farmers the ability to purchase even more heavily subsidized fuel? What if the price of fuel never came down as it did in 2009? This scenario struck me as not only possible, but highly probable within a few short years. I am not an economist but I sure saw fuel prices spike in 2007/08 and I can see how it may happen again sometime soon.
Our farm is small and we are continuing to set ourselves up to be able to sell our produce at closer to retail prices. It is a lot of work to process and market the produce to be able to achieve this pricing, but we are doing it. That means that our farm can stay relatively small and still achieve a liveable income. Because our farm is small, could we actually go back to farming with horses or oxen? Is it practical?
Well I would have to say yes when I see so many other folks doing it! Neil Dimmock here in Alberta is a prime example of someone who is more than capable of surviving without oil.
I would be well advised to try to stay in touch with Neil and learn all I can about farming with horses. Cindy and I are no stranger to horses having been around them and involved in raising them for many years in the past. I don't think that either one of us is necessarily looking forward to owning horses again, but if there was an actual purpose behind owning them as opposed to them just being really expensive grass mowers, I could see it happening sometime in the near future. Of course, first things first. We have to get ourselves moved and our new farm built and operating. I hope that can happen before the oil runs out!?!?
Above is KYGuyz using a hay gathering implement to load the wagon. Below, Neil Dimmock seeds his fields with the Percherons.