The Ohio AgrAbility Program has a mission to promote independence for people in agriculture who want to continue to farm after experiencing a disabling condition. The program’s goal is to provide education, resources, and technical assistance to those individuals and their families so they may continue to do what they love to do, farm.
Agriculture consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations. Each year, agricultural workers in Ohio experience injuries that limit their ability to perform essential tasks on the farm. Injuries are not limited to just on the farm, some injuries occur through off-the-farm incidents, illness, or health problems such as heart disease, arthritis, or cancer. As the population ages, senior farmers often experience limitations such as decreased vision, decreased hearing, or loss of strength. The AgrAbility program serves all of these situations.
Ohio AgrAbility conducts on-site assessments for the worker to determine how he or she performs their job and helps find solutions that will meet their needs. Often those solutions involve some form of assistive technology. Assistive technology includes any kind of device, modification, or service that will help a person with a disabling condition work and live more independently. It may be low or high tech, expensive or inexpensive, but ultimately it helps the person complete a job that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.
Some of the agricultural and assistive technology products that Ohio AgrAbility is excited to introduce to farmers are listed below.
Livestock gate system
A gate system that is a mechanically operated gate opener will allow the user to open and close the gate without leaving their vehicle. The gate opens at a slow rolling speed without requiring the driver stop. The gate will close slowly behind the vehicle after passing through. The system is a kit that can be installed on any new or existing gate.
A lift system for wheelchair bound individuals, also mobile lifts, hand controls, home access equipment, and mobility products that allow the user to be more productive and not confined to their wheelchair. The lifts are designed to fit the user’s lifestyle and they continually create new lifts and adapt existing equipment to fit the users needs.
A wheelchair accessible truck conversion that is available for GM trucks to provide an alternative to the traditional minivan for drivers and/or passengers. The truck is a wheelchair accessible vehicle that gives the driver the choice of driving a full size truck anywhere they want to go, whether across town or just out to the field.
A standing wheelchair that is custom fitted to allow the user a more independent life and may keep them healthier. The chair allows the user to be more independent and do more things. The chair gives the user the benefits of: 1) pressure relief, 2) weight bearing for bone integrity, 3) gravity on bowels and urinary tract, 4) stretching of muscles and tendons, and 5) improved circulation.
Additional assistive technology
After-market assistive equipment lines with innovative products designed to make a farmer’s work easier and more productive. Products like air-ride seats, suspensions, extended steps, mirrors, and floor mats to name a few. Many products can be purchased through the local equipment dealers.
Demonstrations at Farm Science Review
These assistive technology items will be demonstrated at the Ohio AgrAbility display during Farm Science Review September 16-18, 2014. The AgrAbility Program is on Land Ave. between Kottman St. and Market St.
For more information on the Ohio AgrAbility Program and Assistive Technology products contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Andy Bauer, OAP Educational Program Coordinator, at email@example.com or call (614) 247-7681. This column is provided by the OSU Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering in collaboration with Easter Seals.