(AP) NICKTOWN, PA. — Levi Zook doesn’t want to move his wife and eight children from the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania to New York state but strongly believes he has no choice.

That’s because the 34-year-old farmer and the Andy Weaver Swartzentruber Amish congregation to which he belongs – the most conservative branch of the most conservative sect of Amish – concluded they have no future on the scenic plateau of Barr Township, some 70 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Zook chose his words carefully when asked what prompted the 21-family congregation to begin moving away this year. Zook and the remaining families figure to be gone by spring, he explained, pausing to rein in his horse as he chatted with a reporter standing next to his buggy.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.