It’s estimated that more than one million people engaged in agricultural production are restricted from performing essential tasks due to physical limitation.
A love of farming keeps people going.
Despite these obstacles, many persevere and continue farming. We’ve assisted people with makeshift solutions create safe, reliable solutions to their obstacles.
AgrAbility is about honoring that perseverance and passion for farming. Read these impact stories to get a clearer idea about what we do.
A simple remedy to a teenager’s respiratory problems
At age 13, one of our clients suffered respiratory problems as a result of inhaling chemical fumes while assisting in cleanup activities in the milking barn. He was left with severe bronchial burns that ultra-sensitized him to outdoor dust, pollen, strong smells, etc. Because he was no longer able to participate in activities around the farm, the young man showed a progressive decline in attitude and self-esteem during the two years after the accident.
We introduced this young man to a commercially available dust-filtering helmet. He used it outside and around the farmyard. Even doing extremely dusty tasks, like drawing feed for cows in the barn, he had no recognition of contacting dust. Nor did he notice the usual strong chemical odor in the milkhouse.
Over the next two years, he wore the helmet routinely as he went about doing chores around the family farm. From taking care of his 4-H calf, to working in the hay field, the device freed him to be active outdoors without fear of physical repercussions.
A helping hand helps him continue farming
One of our clients suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis which limited his mobility on his family’s hog and cattle farm in northwestern Illinois. His limited mobility was compensated by the use of crutches, wheelchair, or a power scooter. But his biggest concern was being able to get onto and operate a specific tractor.
We partnered with the State Department of Rehabilitation Services to secure funding for a lift, and started building.
Once the lift was attached, our client was extremely pleased that it worked better than he imagined. We expect that with the reduced stress, and reduced fatigue (of not having to climb up on the tractor), this client will be more productive during the time he is working. Plus, he can now perform most farming duties he felt were his responsibility.
Paralysis did not stop this road commissioner from “doing a good job”
Another one of our clients – a former farmer – was an elected road commissioner in Central Illinois. About two years into his term, his mobility was severely affected by a spinal stroke that caused almost total paralysis of his lower extremities.
These mobility issues affected the client getting into machinery needed to perform his duties as road commissioner. So he designed a makeshift lift to assist him into getting each piece of equipment. While it was functional, the wire-cable winch-operated chairlift was very unsafe. So we coordinated with a manufacturer of a commercially available seat lift to design a unique, independently operating seat lift that our client could transfer onto from his scooter.
The device enabled him to independently perform his job. After acquiring the lift, he improved his already recognized reputation of “doing a good job” as commissioner and was reelected to another term by a landslide 4 to 1 margin!
Not a hand-out, but a simple and safe solution
After a traumatic injury to his left hand, one of our clients experienced difficulty performing certain everyday tasks. His hand had become entangled in a corn picker, but he eventually returned to his farm work wearing a prosthesis with a dorrance hook.
A top concern for this farmer was to make changes to allow for him to be able to operate his skid steer loader. The operator needed to be able to push, pull and twist each control lever of the steer lever independently. But the position of the handle, and the small cab enclosure, left the farmer no room to maneuver when he attempted to twist the handle. Since this was an essential piece of equipment for his dairy operation, it was an immediate priority.
We added an adjustable adaptor that allowed his hook to be inserted into a U-shaped channel bolted on top of the handle of the lever. Even with the adaptor in place, anyone else could operate the loader without problems or compromising their safety.
Live your preferred life
It goes without saying that agricultural production is hazardous. But we strive to help farmers and agricultural workers maintain their livelihood by keeping them ‘on the farm’.