Consider modifications for getting around the farm with decreased mobility.
April 28, 2011 - Author: Kelly Ewalt, AgrAbility, MSU Extension
In looking around most farms, they are not laid out or built with accessibility options in mind. When a farmer, farm worker or family member suffers a disability or chronic illness, such as arthritis, that limits their mobility continuing to work around the farm can be difficult. Uneven terrain can make getting around in a manual, or even electric, wheelchair virtually impossible. While paving the entire area isn’t usually a possibility, there are products available to make it easier to maneuver around the farm.
- Putting non-slip coatings on ramps helps with traction, whether for wheelchairs or crutch users. Products come in adhesive sheets or a grit that can be painted on.
- In cases where livestock and fences or crops need to be checked regularly, an investment in a utility vehicle may be the answer. There are many different styles from golf carts to four and even six wheel drive models. When necessary, utility vehicles can be made wheelchair accessible or modified with additional steps or hand controls depending on the need of the farmer. New models of wheelchairs that are designed to go over rough terrain are available as well.
- Providing a firm surface on grassy areas and still keeping an aesthetic look can be achieved by using grass pavers. These products come in many varieties from numerous manufacturers. Different types of pavers are designed for different applications including heavy duty for vehicle parking and lighter weight for pathways between buildings. These products allow for proper drainage and allow the grass to grow through them to hide the girds, yet provide a stable platform for mobility.
This is a short list of possible modifications that can be done to farms to make them more accessible. For more information, contact Michigan AgrAbility.