A View from the Field: Perry County
Farming Beyond a Stroke
During Maurer's rehabilitation his wife Beth quit her nursing job to help their son John keep the farm going. The Maurer's milk 60 head of Holsteins and raise about 100 head of steers for beef on their 450-acre operation. At first Maurer got around on a four-wheeler, however, straddling it was hard to manage. Maurer's sister-in-law, Nancy Bratton, located a golf cart, which was easier to get into and out of but, being battery-powered, it couldn't go the distance to reach far away farm fields.
Then during the winter of 1997, Bratton, who is also an insurance agent, saw a story about AgrAbility and contacted the organization. An appointment was made for an AgrAbility representative to visit. "He came to the farm and evaluated how I was and what I could do and then went over how they could help," explains Maurer. In reality getting the right things for Maurer involved many visits and telephone calls and follow-up evaluations by AgrAbility staff, and the involvement of the regional Office for Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).
With OVRs financial assistance, numerous equipment modifications were obtained to assist Maurer. Since he no longer had the strength to unfurl the manual booms on his chemical sprayer, hydraulic booms were obtained. An automatic feeder was installed in the young-stock barn to reduce the labor of shoveling silage by hand. Maurer was unable to handle his old skid steer loader so a newer model with power brakes and steering was purchased. Automatic hitches - an item Maurer didn't even know existed - were installed on the farm's silage wagons. An extra, lower step was added to his tractor.
The milking system also required a series of modifications. At first, milkers with automatic take-offs were installed, but soon thereafter Maurer discovered they were too heavy for him to handle. So an overhead track was installed enabling him to move the milkers around the barn by sliding them.
The total cost of the modifications to Maurer's farm has run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Some of the items have been obtained through OVR, others Maurer has helped pay for.
"We would have done some upgrading on our own," Maurer says, "but we would have never done it all ourselves without AgrAbility and the OVR." As a result of the changes accomplished with AgrAbility's help, Maurer, 62, says he hopes to keep farming for many years. He gives a lot of credit to the organization and what it did for him. "AgrAbility was very helpful," he says. "They wanted to make me a productive person again."
Ag Progress Days: August
As a result of several collaborations, the following FREE health screenings will be offered throughout the event:
In addition to the health screenings, we will award some prize drawings. Stop by our booth or the information office and pick up an entry card that you can get punched by visiting several partner exhibits around the grounds, then drop off the punched card at our booth before 4:00 PM to register.
Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 until 4:00PM is the annual Snack and Chat session for any AgrAbility clients, Advisory group, partners and OVR. If you are on the grounds during that time, plan on stopping by and meet other clients or let us know how you are doing. You are important to us!
Apple City FFA Wins Big!
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians and the Agway Foundation awarded 1st place and a check for $500 to Apple City FFA on June 11th during the FFA Summer Convention. Their project was based on a need experienced by a member's grandfather. The grandfather was injured in a brush hog incident, which resulted in a double leg amputation. Due to his injury, he was having difficulties accessing their home and using the outside picnic table. The Apple City FFA Chapter designed an accessible picnic table and ramp. Chapter members solicited approximately $500 and supplies from local businesses, which covered the cost of the modifications.
This is a wonderful example of a chapter that used community resources, local expertise, and teamwork to solve a problem. For more information regarding Bridging Horizons, contact Linda Fetzer at (814) 863-7490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Directors
The Easter Seals Family
I know firsthand that David, Crystal and Linda are well into planning for this years Ag Progress Days and this is a perfect example of the programs collaborative intent. For the past two years it has been so encouraging and heartwarming to see the farmers and their families visit the booth, enjoy a cookie or two and embrace the opportunity to converse with others who have faced some of the same challenges and experiences. I personally think the chance to talk with others who have gone through similar encounters only strengthens the importance of the networking and outreach activities.
The AgrAbility exhibit will include some great attractions this year. The PA Office of Rural Health (Agromedicines Outreach partner) has secured a provider for osteoporosis screenings throughout the event. New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) will provide respiratory screenings on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. A new partner to the booth this year will be the Home Nursing Agency who for 35 years has been providing quality healthcare services to the Central Pennsylvania area. The Home Nursing Agency will be offering free blood pressure and stroke screenings the entire three days. The PA Department of Health will provide tetanus vaccinations.
The three Gs great program, great staff, great relationships - working in partnership to create solutions that change lives.
Assistive Technology Highlight
Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, the BUV is quiet and will not scare your livestock. Pictured is the BUV with the Mill Creek manure spreader attachment that is powered by biodegradable vegetable hydraulic oil. Numerous attachments can be fitted to the BUV such as a stake bed, flat bed, mower, post hole digger, etc. The engineering team at Blazing Technologies will customize their product to your needs. The BUV is controlled by a single joystick, mounted for right or left handed operation. All directional motion is enabled easily by this effortless joystick control.
Blazing Technologies can be reached at 75 Grace Blvd. #6, New Morgan, PA 19543. Ph. 717-765-8662.
For more information about AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians or share any ideas about articles for future editions, please contact either Linda or David.
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