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Friday, October 23, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Messy conflict over horse manure divides Amish, neighbors"

Following on this Oct. 13th ILB post, headed "Horse manure in the news," Maureen Hayden of CNHI reports today in the Washington Times Herald:

LAGRANGE, Ind. – Terry Martin, like it or not, knows horse manure.

As a state trooper, he routinely washed it off his patrol car after driving through Amish country, where horses and buggies are as ubiquitous as pickup trucks.

Later, as sheriff of LaGrange County, he cleaned it up outside the local lock-up, where he also installed a hitching post for Amish prisoners. Even in his off-hours, he shovels manure as a horse owner and competitor in mounted shooting contests.

Now, as a county commissioner, he's looking for a way to keep it from splattering on tourists and townsfolk.

A conflict over horse manure is playing out publicly in this scenic county, home to the second-largest Amish community in the United States, with more than 17,000 members.

Headlines about the fight over manure littered streets and highways are an embarrassment for some. Others fear they signal of growing tension between the Amish and “English," as the Amish call those outside their faith.

Last week, seeking to quell growing discontent as the number of Amish – and their horses - swells in his county, Martin agreed to test a manure-catching diaper on a horse.

Pre-loaded with 40 pounds of droppings to simulate a real road scenario, the device was strapped onto the rear of a harnessed Amish buggy horse with Martin’s help.

“It’s not going to work,” he said, breaking the news Wednesday at a specially called commission meeting. The room was crowded with unhappy residents who want to mandate the devices for their Amish neighbors -- a proposal that stalled as commissioners look for a better option.

“This problem isn’t going away,” Martin added. “We’ve always had horse manure here. Now, we’ve got just a lot more of it.”

Martin said he’s concerned about the tenor of the debate, including in recent postings on social media. One accused him of cowing to "the Amish mafia.”

Steve Nolt, who studies the Amish at the nearby Mennonite-run Goshen College, said the controversy is out of character.

“It’s a little unusual to have this kind of skirmish in a place where the English and Amish have co-existed for so long,” he said.

That is just the start of this interesting story.

[More] Here is the whole, long CNHI story on one-page, via Indiana Economic Digest.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 23, 2015 02:28 PM
Posted to Indiana Government