New technologies reduce physical strain for farmers

MARSHFIELD — In­no­va­tions in farm equip­ment are al­low­ing farm­ers to keep the life they love, even af­ter a life-threat­en­ing in­jury. Hor­tonville farmer Keith Pos­selt said his life changed Jan. 31, 1997. While chang­ing a silo door, he slipped and fell 35 feet down a silo chute. Pos­selt said he never lost con­scious­ness but laid at the bot­tom of the silo un­til a neigh­bor found him. Pos­selt shat­tered his T7 ver­te­brae and learned he would never walk again. “Be­fore I left the hos­pi­tal, I de­cided I wanted to con­tinue farm­ing,” he said. Pos­selt shared his story March 16 at the AgrA­bil­ity of Wis­con­sin Sum­mit at Marsh­field Clinic. The farmer be­came a client of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, which helped him over­come chal­lenges get­ting to and around the farm. Pos­selt said one ob­sta­cle has been find­ing equip­ment that will work for him and his farm. One of his pri­mary tools is a Ga­tor equipped with hand con­trols that he ...
March 23, 2015
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Expert offers tips for avoiding injury

MARSHFIELD — The work on a farm never stops, even if the farmer is in­jured. Occupational ther­a­pist Tanya Schaer gave tips for re­duc­ing pain from in­juries and not mak­ing them worse March 16 at the AgrA­bil­ity of Wis­con­sin Sum­mit hosted by Marsh­field Clinic. Schaer said pain from in­juries can be acute or chronic. Acute pain hap­pens af­ter a spe­cific ac­tiv­ity or in­jury while chronic pain is per­sis­tent and may not have an iden­ti­fi­able cause. Schaer en­cour­aged farm­ers to seek treat­ment for acute pain rather than al­low­ing it to be­come chronic. “It’s much eas­ier to treat an acute in­jury, an in­jury that just hap­pened, than one that hap­pened 10 years ago,” she said. Us­ing proper body me­chan­ics is the best de­fense against in­juries. Schaer said many back in­juries are caused by lift­ing loads that are too heavy, not get­ting close enough to the ob­ject, car­ry­ing an un­bal­anced load or pulling rather than push­ing. “Just be­cause ...
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AgrAbility helps Sharon farmer stay in business

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="332"] DAN LASSITER David Travis milks cows at his Sharon dairy despite his severe arthritis, back and foot problems. A state program called AgrAbility has helped the local farmer.[/caption] SHARON—Sometimes dairy farming is just in a person's blood. So no matter how bad things get, or how wildly the milk prices swing, or how hard it is to get away for a vacation, the dedicated dairy farmer just keeps going. David Travis, 67, is an example of the hardened dairy farmer. His fingers are bent from arthritis. He's had back surgery. Cold weather means another bout with Raynaud's disease that causes his fingers and toes to turn white and become painful. It's a quiet perseverance that keeps Travis going, but AgrAbility of Wisconsin has helped, too. A few years ago, Travis was thinking about expanding the operation he runs with his wife, Sharon, and son Daniel. At one point, UW-Madison agriculture engineering professor David W. ...
March 21, 2015
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