Diversified Farmer with Stamina and Mobility Issues

Stan started farming after a successful career as a building contractor. Today, he runs a diversified farm — raising beef and chickens, a market garden and hay. He approached AgrAbility because of the pain he was experiencing in his legs, hips and lower back, due to arthritis and a back injury from his days in contracting. He wondered what he could do to increase his stamina and improve mobility around the farm.

AgrAbility staff visited with Stan for an on-farm assessment to evaluate his work tasks and limitations. The resulting report gave Stan new perspective on the business and marketing side of his enterprise. As the next step, AgrAbility connected him to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) within the Department of Labor. VR recommended an occupational therapist (OT) evaluation. Based on the recommendations from this evaluation, VR helped Stan to acquire assistive technology (AT) to make his work easier on his body and compensate for specific limitations, including:

  • Getting bales into and out of the barn was one of the most taxing parts of Stan’s work. A round baler was purchased to eliminate the manual handling needed with square bales.
  • Mounting rear-view mirrors on his tractor to minimize the need twist when backing up.
  • Adding another step to his tractor helped reduce strain on his knees when mounting the tractor and on his shoulder when hoisting himself up.

These modifications and recommendations from Maine AgrAbility and VR helped Stan continue to farm successfully. His meat, produce and eggs are currently sold from his farm as well as farmers markets in Rumford and Lewiston.

Stan’s connection to Maine AgrAbility is still strong. In 2013, Stan and his wife, Myrna, attended a three day AgrAbility National Training Workshop in Minneapolis, MN on a full scholarship.