LOUDON, N.H. — The Draft Animal-Power Network (DAPNet) Field Days are just two days away! After a hiatus in 2021, DAPNet is excited to announce Field Days will be held October 2 and 3 at Sanborn Mills Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire. The event will offer many activities and highlights including workshops, demonstrations, round-table discussions, and a raffle. The event is a great educational and networking opportunity for a person of any level of interest in animal power. The event attracts a variety of animal-power supporters each year including farmers, loggers, gardeners, foresters, educators. Mark your calendars!
The Opening Ceremony kicks off at 8 A.M. on Saturday, followed by the first of three draft-animal demonstrations. The Forestry and Logging demo will take attendees into the woods to see animal-powered loggers at work. Experienced teamsters will demonstrate the equipment and techniques used in animal-powered logging as well as lead a group conversation about the business of draft animal logging. One of the demonstrators will be Brant Ainsworth from Ainsworth Family Farm in New York. Brant and other demonstrators will show techniques such as skidding a felled tree and moving it from the woods to the milling site. Demonstrators will also delve into the details of when to use certain implements in draft animal logging, harnessing specifics, and safety measures.
After lunch, the Cultivation demonstration will cover the basics on plows and methods of plowing, including bare ground breaking, discing, using a spike-tooth harrow, planting wheat with different implements, and more. Ray Ramsey and Lars Prillaman, Sanborn Mills Farm’s farm manager and draft horse teamster respectively, will join other presenters in showing attendees how to take a fallow field and make it ready to plant by use of animal power.
Prillaman said, “Sanborn Mills Farm is an ideal location for this event, and people always walk away [from the Field Days] with an appreciation for animal power.”
After Cultivation, the focus shifts to Mowing and Harvesting. Similar to the cultivation demo, different types of mowers will be presented and demonstrated, including ways to troubleshoot these mowers when problems occur during use. Donn Hewes from Northland Sheep Dairy, who uses animal power to harvest hay on his farm, will share tips on maintenance and repair of mowing and other machinery. He will also bring a deconstructed mower, which will be re-assembled to present the inner workings of the machine. Other presenters will do the demo itself with the horses. Harvesting demonstrations will follow. A grain binder and 1919 Sterling Thresher will show a simulation of processing small grains like wheat, rye, and oats. Attendees will get to see how harvesting was done before the invention of combines and how it still can be done today!
In between the demos, attendees will have the opportunity to have a local delicious barbeque chicken lunch provided by Vernon Family Farm. Lunch tickets are $20 and sold at the gate. Later, a pizza dinner will be available for $5. Attendees can purchase both of these meal tickets at the registration table at check-in.
Demonstrators are excited for the event as it is the first opportunity for DAPNet members to meet up for the first time in a long time. Hewes mentioned the Field Days have become an event that draft animal farmers from the Northeast have enjoyed over the past 14 years, and he is looking forward to being there. He also praised the hosts of the event, saying, “Sanborn Mills Farm is a great new venue that is committed to draft power.”
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