Oxen Free

The Chinese New Year falls on January 26 this year, ushering in the Year of the Ox. What does our new animal mascot bode for the next 12 months? We talked to a few farm experts—and it looks like we’re going to be putting our noses to the grindstone.

“Oxen are hard-working,” says Stephen Kozak, farm manager of Philipsburg Manor, home to a historic breed of the animal. “They’re conditioned to work every day.”

Craig Haney, livestock manager of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture (which currently has no oxen, though he’s worked with them in the past), also praises the animals for their industriousness. “They literally put their shoulders into their work,” he says. “If you think about our current financial crisis, we’re going to be seeing a lot of that this year.” To see the oxen hard at work in person, you’ll have to wait until April, when Philipsburg Manor opens for the season.

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