How many farmers do the average Michigan State University Extension educator working in the field encounter in a day, week, month or year? Does an MSU Extension educator ever refer a farmer to another educator with a specialty area other than their own? Of course!
Michigan AgrAbility is a part of MSU Extension and is one more specialty area that educators can use as resources for farmer clients. AgrAbility could also serve as a reference in crisis management planning.
AgrAbility staff spends a great deal of time visiting clients in the field. If, during the course of conversation, staff members discover a farmer dealing with an invasive weed issue in a particular field, the staff person would certainly not try to solve the problem independently, but would refer the client to a specialist.
A disability is not always the result of a single traumatic event such as a farm or vehicle accident. Disabilities can present themselves through aging and manifest as arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes and more. Often, the disability is directly associated with years of physically intense farm labor.
According to the most recent Agricultural Census, the average age of the principal operator on Michigan farms is 57.6 years and MSU Extension educators are likely to encounter a growing number of individuals physically struggling to remain at the farm’s helm.
AgrAbility engineer, Ned Stoller, is available to provide no-cost on farm consultations and can be reached at 800-956-4106 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.