“About one in the morning, Mike’s friend called me and told me Mike had been in an accident,” Mike’s wife, Michelle Halpin, recalled about the accident. “[He] told me Mike said it was his neck and he couldn’t move his legs.”

Mike Halpin, was unloading bales at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin when his hand caught on the twine and pulled him headfirst into the ground.

After Mike was rushed to the hospital, the Halpins discovered Mike dislocated his C5 and C6 vertebrae and suffered from a spinal cord injury. Due to his injuries, Mike had no feeling or mobility from the middle of his chest down.

AgrAbility helps farmers keep their independence.

As a program of the University of Illinois Extension, in collaboration with Illinois Assistive Technology Program and the Community Health Partnership, AgrAbility Unlimited of Illinois promotes independence in agriculture to farmers with disabilities and their families.

So after family friend connected Mike Halpin with AgrAbility Unlimited, AgrAbility partnered with the Illinois Assistive Technology Program to make necessary adaptations to the Halpin house that Mike needed to return home.

Life on the Farm

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 like Mike Halpin persevere and continue farming.

“I do anything I can to help out. I want to work.”

While Mike cannot get into a tractor, he still contributes as much as he can to his family’s 4,000 acre farm near Cullom, Illinois. He keeps up with the farm office work, like keeping track of yields, insurance claims, and grain tickets.

“When the harvest was completed, we didn’t have that mess to go through like we’ve had in the past.”

Staying involved with the community

“We’re still being involved in the things that we care about,” Michelle explained. The Halpins still participate in different community activities and cow shows. Mike was also reelected to a 3-year term on the alumbi board.

“We’re definitely putting more of an effort to still do those things that we did before Mike’s accident, and [we’re] just figuring out how we can still do them,” Michelle “because it’s what we really enjoy.”

Mike’s current goal is to walk unassisted by the two-year anniversary of his accident on October 5, 2018.

AgrAbility was recently featured in the Fall 2018 magazine of ACES@Illinois, a publication for the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.