Client Highlight: Rolland Coplien

Rolland is a farmer in Juda who, like many other farmers, worked hard on the farm throughout his life. Rolland accepted all the challenges that came his way. But dairy farming, a job consistently filled with bending, lifting and twisting, can lead to serious problems in the back, which is exactly what Rolland developed. The pain advanced to the point that Rolland needed to wear a back brace while working in the fields and milking in order to reduce the pain.

25 yr logoRolland contacted AgrAbility in late 1992 due to the problems he was having with his back and how much it impacted his ability to work as a dairy farmer. While many may suggest finding a different career, that was never a viable option for Rolland. With the help of AgrAbility and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Rolland was able to find a few solutions. These solutions include additional steps on his tractors along with hand rails to help support Rolland as he was getting in and out of the tractors. Since Rolland wore a back brace while working in the fields, the original seats on his tractors influenced how long he was able to sit and they tended to catch on his back brace. Replacing the seats was a no-brainer that has left Rolland with more freedom to do the work he needs to without the pain.

Rolland also spoke with doctors and chiropractors, who helped him set up a routine and exercise regimen that eventually allowed him to no longer require the back brace. Though milking was easier after he figured out a plan for his back, Rolland and his wife, Nancy, decided to sell the dairy cattle. But that was not the end of their farming life. They continue to plant and harvest field crops on their farm every year and Rolland continues to use the steps and railing put on the tractors for his field work. He and Nancy are very appreciative of all the help they received from AgrAbility and DVR, and believe that it helped to ensure they never had to leave the life they love.

Even though the farm has changed over the years, Rolland, like most farmers, cannot imagine what life would be like off of the farm, and he has no plans of changing that any time soon.