What happens when physical limitations keep a farmer from farming — his livelihood and his life? AgrAbility helps to answer that and similar questions for farmers, giving them hope. Read more.
Orono, Maine — Farmers have the seventh most-dangerous job in America.
Annually, there are 26.2 work-related fatalities per 100,000 full-time farmers, according to Business Insider. Of the 268 farm deaths in 2011, 54 percent were transportation related.
With harvest season underway, many Maine farmers and farm workers are operating farm tractors in fields and on roads. To promote workplace safety, the Maine AgrAbility Program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One, developed a brightly colored decal to be applied to tractor fenders, dashboards and windshields. The decal reminds operators to work safely.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s AgrAbility Program will give as many as five free safety stickers to each farm in Maine. To order, contact Maine AgrAbility Coordinator Lani Carlson at email@example.com or 207.944.1533, or online.
Maine AgrAbility is an outreach program for farmers and farm workers with disabilities or chronic illnesses to help them keep farming. Maine AgrAbility is sponsored by UMaine Extension in collaboration with Alpha One and Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. More information about Maine AgrAbility is online (umaine.edu/agrability).
About University of Maine Cooperative Extension: As a trusted resource for almost 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H.
Contact: Lani Carlson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 207.944.1533
In this webinar, participants will learn more about Maine’s AgrAbility program and about the farmers who are using these services. The presenter will discuss farmer’s disability related needs; look at technology solutions including off-the-shelf products, adaptive equipment, farm modification, and software products. The presentation will also include funding options.
Target audience: Farmers, occupational therapists, physical therapist, educators in Cooperative Extension, vocational rehabilitation counselors, Veterans, Assistive Technology Practitioners, others in the Maine agricultural community.
John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about the need for affordable health care for Maine’s migrant workers. Jemison said farm labor can be hard on health and its workers are notoriously underinsured and underserved. As part of a UMaine Extension project two years ago, Jemison learned one of the biggest issues farm workers face is access to affordable health care. He says the idea of a mobile health clinic is intriguing but wonders how it will be paid for.
The American Council of the Blind of Maine (ACB of Maine) publishes routine e-newsletters with stories from around Maine. In the June 2013 Summer Edition Newsletter there was an article about the Maine AgrAbility Program: Focusing on Your Ability to Farm.
Arthritis & Agriculture
Two free workshops focused on arthritis in agricultural occupations were offered July 30, 2013 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester and at University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Knox-Lincoln County office in Waldoboro.
Amber Wolfe, Arthritis Foundation National AgrAbility Project Coordinator, and Lani Carlson, UMaine Extension Maine AgrAbility Coordinator, will share information on arthritis treatment and pain management options, sources of joint stress and pain on the farm, operational changes, modifications to farm equipment and assistive technology tools. The workshops are for farmers, gardeners, agricultural workers, healthcare professionals and the public.
Maine AgrAbility (umaine.edu/agrability) is a collaboration of UMaine Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One.
Arthritis affects approximately one-third of all adult farm and ranch operators and is considered one of the leading causes of disability by customers of the USDA AgrAbility Project. Arthritis can cause significant impairments to one’s mobility, dexterity, capacity to lift heavy loads and emotional well-being due to unmanaged pain and other factors. With the average age of the American farmer climbing above 57, increasingly more farmers will find tasks difficult to complete. Many agricultural workers do not know they may be at risk of developing arthritis. The Arthritis and Agriculture site provides educational resources and support information to agricultural workers and their families.