Farm modifications for reduced arm strength or amputations

Tips to making farming with limited arm strength or arm amputations easier.

Smashed hands and jammed fingers are a part of farming; however when a more serious condition or accident drastically reduces a farmer’s capacity to use their hand or arm, modifications may need to be made to equipment to allow them to keep working.

 Operating equipment can be made easier by making a few small changes.  Simple extension to levers in the cab, including the throttle or gearshift, allow better access as well as making it easier to grasp the levers.  Spinner knobs and handles can be added to the steering wheels of tractors and other self propelled implements to assist in driving. Many different styles are available depending on the need of the operator.

When working with livestock, lifting and dragging heavy gates can be a problem for someone with reduced upper body strength. Simply adding a gate wheel, which carries the weight of the gate, allows the farmer to easily roll it open. There are also drive-through gates, foot operated gate openers and one-handed gate openers allowing for easy access to the pasture or pen.

Shop tools can be modified by adding extra padding to handles in the form of foam or other cushioned materials and many tools can be modified to work with prosthetic arm attachments. Items such as tool balancers can help reduce the strain of heavy shop tools repeatedly or for long durations.

This is just a few examples of modifications that can be made, and each farm situation is unique.  For more information, contact Michigan AgrAbility at 989-227-6455.