Farm Technology

Since World War II, farm technology has grown rapidly in Knox County and the nation. Within Knox County, some farmers have followed this trend adopting scientific innovations in animal care, weed control, planting and marketing. The Hathaways, who own one of the most technologically advanced farms in Knox County, find grasping the newest technology essential to maintaining their operation. As Darel Hathaway expressed, "We have made up our minds that we want to be part of that opportunity (in agriculture), so we'll adopt and adjust to whatever it takes to continue in this business."

Other farmers in the county have chosen to resist the flow of advancing farm technology. Besides the implementation of no-till into his operation, Dennis and Becky Shinaberry, sheep farmers from Fredricktown, have adopted few of the many technologies in farming today. When asked how he keeps up with the newest technology, Dennis Shinaberry responds, "I don't. Can you spend $10,000 on this thing and justify it to pay out in the next five years or whatever? What works for me and what works for the neighbor up the road can be two totally different things. There's things that will work for some people and things that won't work for others."

In eastern Knox County, a large Amish Community resists the flow of new farm technology. Although some new order Amish employ the use of tractors and chemicals in their fields, the old order are strickly committed to preserving the technologies of the past. The old order feel that, in part, what defines their relationship to God is their relationship to material things. For this reason, they attempt to adopt as few material things as possible. To the new order Amish, material items are not a significant an issue. The most important thing to them is their beliefs and, therefore, according to them, their material items do not get in the way of their relationship with God. It is for these reasons that the two orders rely on and adopt different technologies.

Although Knox County's family farms have taken different technological routes in recent years, Dan Hathaway expresses the importance of them all. "There's many good farms in the county. Each of them runs at a different level, for different reasons. Each has their own ideas and where they want to be."

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