Age-related factors and farming: Part One

Age-related health conditions may slow you down when you’re working in the field. Equipment modifications can make things a little easier on an aging farmer.

If you work in agriculture, you have probably heard some one say, “I just don’t bend/move/stretch like I used to.” You may have even said that yourself. Remember that you may not be able to do the same jobs the same way you always have and remain safe, but there are ways to keep farming safely.

Arthritis and other age related conditions can make climbing equipment or working with animals more difficult and even dangerous. If you have arthritis or other conditions that affect movement, take a look at your equipment and how you are accessing it. Can you reach that first step as easily as you used to? Does turning in the seat to look at the implements you’re pulling hurt your back? Can you push down easily on the pedals of the tractor? Do you have a hard time gripping the tools in the shop? If you said yes to any of these, you could probably benefit from some equipment modifications.

Modifications can range from adding an additional step or even a lift to your tractor or combine, installing rear-view mirrors or cameras so you don’t have to twist in your seat to constantly check implements or installing hand controls to eliminate the need to press down on pedals with bad knees or hips. Foam padding and duct tape help make handles of shop tools to help arthritic hands grip easier.

These are just a few of the options available. For an on-farm assessment of your needs and recommendations on equipment modifications, contact Michigan AgrAbility at 800-956-4106.

Related Michigan State University (MSU) Extension News article: Age related factors and farming: Part Two.

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