Technology helps farmer with ALS keep farming

Here is an article from AgPro that talks about how remote technology is allowing a farmer with ALS to keep working. Even though he is no longer able to get in the tractor, remote data access and employees are allowing him to manage his farm from the office. Click on the link below to view the article.

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Veteran Farmer Program seeking a veteran farmer who uses a prosthetic arm to participate in documentary/receive a free prosthetic

I came across this add on Facebook this morning and thought I would pass it along. I originally saw it on the Agrability Facebook page, but they had shared it from the PA Veteran Farming Project page. There doesn’t seem to be a link to an outside webpage, but here is the content of the original Facebook post by PA Veteran Farming Project:

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“Prosthetic manufacturer is seeking a veteran in ag or veteran hobby farmer to receive a high-tech prosthetic arm, in partnership with an ag equipment manufacturer. Selected veteran will be required to participate in filming a documentary over 2 weeks this April. Veteran ideally would reside in or near Philadelphia, Cleveland, Portland (OR), Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Kansas City. Selected candidate must hold qualified insurance for follow-up visits outside of the project timeline.
If interested, PM or email and we will connect you with the project manager. This information is provided as a service only and does not imply endorsement.”

Event: AgrAbility 2019 training seminars online

AgrAbility has announced their 2019 training seminars.  The seminars will take place January 29th-January 31st. Topics for this year include understanding the risks for older farmers in agriculture, an introduction to the AgrAbility online toolbox,  shoulder injuries in agriculture, program updates, farm tool shop safety, and advice for beginning farmers. You can register online using the link below by January 25th if you want to participate in the seminars as they happened, or you can watch this and previous year’s sessions online.

Click here to register if you want to participate in the seminars

Click here to see program descriptions and to see seminars from previous years

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Trends in the Database: Falls from Combine Ladders

I’ve been looking through some of the reports in the database the past few days, and noticed that several involved falls from combine ladders.  While the data set is still too small to do much statistical analysis, there are a few things  that these cases had in common:

Debris on the ladder: in two cases, mud and ice buildup on the steps were mentioned as the major cause of the fall. Most combine ladders have treads to help prevent falls, but if they’re full of mud or ice they won’t help you.  Keeping things clean can be a low priority when it’s harvest and you’re in a hurry, but cleaning out the worst of the buildup if it’s to the point that the treads are getting covered goes a long way towards preventing falls.

Damaged steps or railings: In one case, the fall happened because one of the steps was bent and sloped down. Having a step that is slanted down and is covered in mud makes it really difficult to get a good footing.  In another case, the fall happened at a lower step of the ladder and wouldn’t have resulted in an injury except that the railing had a sharp spot where rust had made a hole and it cut the person’s hand on the way down. Again, this comes down to making time to do maintenance and keeping the ladder in good shape

Operator mobility issues: In two cases,  the operator’s mobility issues were a contributing factor in the fall. Things like arthritis, knee problems, back problems, and so on can make climbing ladders a lot more dangerous.  This is especially true if you’re using an older combine with a rung-type ladder instead of steps.   AgrAbility has a lot of great suggestions for modifying steps and ladders for easier access. In their solutions toolbox,click on “tractors and combines” then “equipment added steps and handholds” for a various DIY projects and products that can help make getting in and out of a tractor easier and safer.

Click here to open AgrAbility toolbox in a new tab

Once again I’d like to thank everyone that has contributed reports, and to the couple of people who emailed me articles to post! This project has come a long way in just a few weeks, and I really appreciate how helpful everyone has been!

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Video: Introduction to AgrAbility program

AgrAbility is a program run by Purdue University that provides solutions to help disabled farmers and older farmers to keep farming. They’ve come up with tools and training to help with accessibility and to help make tasks easier.  State-level programs are available in 26 states and are staffed by experts who can help individual farmers figure out which solutions work best for them.  Many of the solutions in their toolbox are DIY. They also have a resource page for veterans and beginning farmers. Click here to check out their website