Vol. 21 No. 2
'Toolbox' for Farmers with
Farming is physically demanding enough for an able-bodied
person. Imagine what it's like for a farmer with a severe disability, such as an
amputation, paralysis, or a visual impairment.
Those images stirred Purdue University's Breaking Ground
Resource Center to action. The result was The
Toolbox, a resource manual for farmers with disabilities. First published 15
years ago, The Toolbox was believed to
be the only such catalog for assistive technology for farmers.
'The third edition recently rolled off the presses, with
many new and updated sections," said Paul Jones, manager of the Breaking
New Ground Resource Center. The center is Purdue's outreach program for farmers
with disabilities. There are about 550 different items featured in The
"You'll find such things as tractor lifts, hitching
devices and powered gates," Jones said. "A lot of these are homemade
devices. Fifteen or twenty percent are homemade products people submitted."
Topic areas include: Shops & Shop Tools, Trucks &
Off-Road Vehicles, Outdoor Mobility, Lawn & Garden, Outdoor Recreation, and
Safety & Health.
Commercially available items are listed with supplier
Both the 1986 and 1990 editions of The Toolbox sold out print runs of more than 1,000 copies each. The
manual's market is substantial. More than a half million farmers and other
agricultural workers in the United States have physical disabilities that make
it difficult to perform routine farm tasks. And each year, approximately 10,000
new cases of debilitating injuries or illnesses occur.
"In the back of The
Toolbox we've put case studies of individuals who've risen above their
disabilities," Jones said. "A lot of them have the spirit that they're
not going to be beat. They have the attitude that if they can't do something one
way, they'll find another."
A Toolbox preview
can be downloaded at the cumbersome web address:
The Toolbox sells for $80, including shipping and handling and can be ordered by calling (800) 825-4264. The Resource Center has a number of other resources, a list of which you may request by calling the same number.