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May 2015


La Crosse Tech students visiting WI client farmAgrAbility of Wisconsin staff took students and staff from the La Crosse Technical School occupational therapy assistant class on a visit to a client's farm early in April. Bruce Whitmore, Easter Seals Rural Rehabilitation Specialist, facilitated the event and provided information to the class about the AgrAbility process and considerations that were made when selecting accommodations for the farmer. This gave the students an opportunity to think critically about how their future occupations could relate to farmers. Showing the students the modifications that were made on the farm was a good way to show the stress put on the body by repetitive motions over the years. Some of the modifications that had been made on the farm were extra tractor steps, climate control and an extra step for a skid-loader, and a John Deere utility vehicle. The farmer was enthusiastic about sharing the many ways that these changes have impacted his ability to remain on the farm. Visits with this class are conducted yearly to different farms around the La Crosse area.

AgrAbility of Wisconsin hosted a neighbor-to-neighbor meeting for clients in the Soldiers Grove area. Farmers at all stages of the AgrAbility program were invited to a former client's farm and were given the opportunity to network and discuss different modifications and methods that had been helpful on their respective farms. Seven farmers attended. Neighbor-to-neighbor meetings are held three to four times per year all around the state. Typically, between five and 20 farmers who want to learn more about changes they can make on their farms attend these gatherings. AgrAbility of Wisconsin will hold another neighbor to neighbor meeting later in the summer.

Submitted by Hannah Gerbitz