The Budget, an Amish-Mennonite Newspaper

A 123-year-old weekly newspaper bearing news of, by, and for Amish and Mennonite communities
photo of portion of The Budget
a portion of the April 17, 2013 Budget

The Wall Street Journal had a piece about The Budget, which we get third-hand.

The corn stands 5 feet tall, the temperatures are in the 90s and Johnny Byler got hooked on his head while fishing with a friend, reported Mrs. Jerry Ray Byler in a recent front-page article of the Budget.

Mrs. Byler is one of about 860 correspondents for the Budget, a 123-year-old weekly newspaper, which carries the news of Amish and Mennonite communities […]

They write about who got married, who went to church, who received dentures—and how 11 chickens went missing when Toby Schrocks of Cisne, Ill., forgot to close the chicken-house door.

Budget Correspondent Paul Troyers in Genesee, Pa., reported that family members held an auction with good results. “The medium-sized dinner bell that mom wanted to throw out brought $400,” he wrote.

“It’s like someone talking over the back fence to a neighbor,” says Budget publisher Keith Rathbun. Mr. Rathbun, who isn’t Amish, covered sports and put out an alternative entertainment weekly before coming in 2000 to the Budget.

The Budget runs about 500 letters a week on 44 to 46 pages that contain no photos. It costs $45 a year; newlyweds pay $42.

It does have competition. Die Botschaft—German for the Message—costs $44 a year, has a circulation of about 12,000 and also consists of letters and reports from contributors. It’s a more conservative alternative to the Budget, which some Amish readers thought was too liberal, say Amish scholars.

Of course, there’s much more to the WSJ article — Amish Newspapers Thrive in Digital Age — but in closing I offer you its crowning paragraph:

Both papers like variety—and letters about interesting, if benign, events. Included on Die Botschaft’s recent Worth Mentioning list: “Mineral deficiency causes a dead cow” referring readers to a letter from a man in Plains, Montana, who found his only milk cow dead one Saturday morning. One woman wrote about her cousin who stuck something up her nose and didn’t tell anyone. Sometime later, her mother noticed a sprout growing out of her nostril, pulled on it and out came a corn kernel.

Have you read the Budget?

2 thoughts on “The Budget, an Amish-Mennonite Newspaper

  1. Very interesting article. I was raised on the Budget. My grandma would read us snippets and comment while she perused. “Now this Katie Bontrager that got married in Kalona. Wasn’t she Kokomo Joe’s daughter’s husband’s sister’s maid that got kicked by the cow the day the storm took out Menno Hershberger’s barn?” Later my mom did the same thing. I became a Budget scribe myself when I was 15, but my mom always said I had too many straight facts and not enough interesting details. Perhaps I have changed a little too much in the ensuing years.

    • “I was raised on the Budget, and look how I turned out.” That would make a great writer-to-writer comment. :mrgreen:

      I’m very interested in reading some of your Budget columns from way back then. Post some on your blog?

      Thanks for commenting, Dorcas!

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