Increasingly, in the last two decades, many Hutterite colonies have turned to manufacturing to supplement their income and to provide work for colony members. Colonies across North America now manufacture a variety of products, from furniture to hog feeders to metal cladding for buildings.
Many colonies produce custom-made parts for various manufacturers, others produce and market their own products, while others provide the labour on-site for companies.
Many use state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, with CNC controlled brakes, shears, lasers, rollers and plasmas.
Historically, Hutterites were producers of goods as opposed to farmers. For several hundred years after the their birth in the 16th century, Hutterites produced a variety of products: pottery, harnesses, saddles, blankets, hats, cloth, beer, clocks, wagons, ropes among others. It was only in the 19th century, after they had lost a lot of the skills, that they were introduced to farming by the Mennonite Johann Cornies in the 1830s. So ironically, many Hutterites are returning to trades and manufacturing, albeit most still remain successful farmers.