Disabled U.S. Farmers Kept in the Field Thanks to Prosthetic Tech
As many as one in five American farmers suffers from a disability that impacts their physical health.
A recent study published in The Journal of Agriculture Safety and Health suggests as many as one in every five U.S. farmers suffers from a disability that impacts their physical health, senses, or cognition — but modern tech is here to help.
Technologies like four-wheel-drive golf carts, auto-locking tractor hitches, and even smart phones all contribute to keeping America’s farmers in the fields and its citizens fed, according to Wired. It’s in large part thanks to a federally funded program called AgrAbility, which connects disabled members of the agriculture community with whatever help best fits their need.
It’s been an ongoing initiative for the past 30 years but its future is in jeopardy since President Trump “red lined” the program to be cut from both budget proposals he’s sent to congress, Wired reported.
For farmers like Indiana native, 57-year-old Ed Bell, who was shot and paralyzed from the upper torso, down, technology both saved his family farm and his life-long agricultural dreams.
Bell has been able to work and contribute heartily thanks to two different types of electric wheelchairs, one with treads for off-roading through his fields and another that allows him to stand up. Mechanical lifts help get him in and out of his tractors, which are fitted with controls that have been modified so he can operate them solely by hand.
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