AgrAbility program: Disability, injury don’t mean the end of farming
February 23, 2013
Dusty Franklin has been actively involved with farming since he was 6 years old.
He has always wanted to be a part of agricultural lifestyle; when years of abuse to his back from heavy lifting, hard work and years of farming resulted in compressed discs in his back and rheumatic arthritis, he thought his custom hay-cutting business would come to an end.
He was living daily with tremendous pain, and each time he rode in his tractor or performed needed farm tasks, it would result in days of lost time and productivity to his operation.
He was searching for alternative ways in which he might be able to continue farming when he heard about Colorado AgrAbility.
An occupational therapist with AgrAbility visited Franklin and his family on their farm and provided a free analysis of his work site and made recommendations for modifications to equipment and in his work activities, which allowed Franklin to return to a much more productive work life.
AgrAbility partnered with the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to make the changes to Franklin's farming business.
The collaboration of these service providers for this family has made a difference between remaining in farming or leaving this beloved way of life.
Colorado State University Extension and Goodwill Industries of Denver work together on the Colorado AgrAbility project to provide disability workshops, on-site evaluations, resource information, equipment modification and assisting technology.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides funding for the Colorado AgrAbility project.
Colorado AgrAbility will host six free workshops across Colorado this winter.
The workshops, "Gear for Working Smarter with AgrAbility," will take place from 9 a.m.-noon and include lunch for those who pre-register at least one week prior to the workshop.
The two workshops closest to Weld County will take place Wednesday in Fort Morgan at the Fort Morgan Extension office, 914 E. Railroad Ave., with Bruce Bosley and Luann Boyer; and Thursday in Aurora at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds & Event Center, room 1, 25690 E. Quincy Ave., with Sheila Gains.
Bruce Bosley is a cropping systems and natural resource specialist with Colorado State University Extension. He can be reached at (970) 980-4001, or at email@example.com.