Serving the Needs of Nebraska's Farm and Ranch Families Affected by Disabilities.
Assistive Technology and Determination Help Nebraska Cattleman Live His Dream
AgrAbility has had many positive effects on his life and his cattle operation, according to Clayton Hergott of Thayer County. Hergott credits the help of AgrAbility with being able to work with his registered Simmental operation. With the help of adaptive equipment and a wealth of knowledge provided by Rural Rehabilitation Specialists, Hergott has actually expanded his operation.
His story: “I was born with a spinal cord injury that has forced me to use crutches and adapt all of my life. However, in November of 2007, I contracted a staph infection that left my strength, endurance, and general mobility greatly diminished. The first and most important item AgrAbility helped me add to my operation was an utility vehicle that gives me the mobility to get around my farm. I can take it in and out of the pens and haul buckets of feed and square bales to the different pens of livestock. It goes through the pastures to both check and catch cattle. This was a must upon release from the hospital to return home after 13 weeks of bed rest following surgery.”
“After the mobility issue was solved, AgrAbility staff worked with me to cost share livestock handling equipment including a portable chute and a portable catch corral that I can haul to different pastures to catch and work cattle. This is important because my registered operation requires more handling than a commercial operation. When heat synchronizing my cattle, it is required to get them caught several times and give them shots and either artificially inseminate or implant embryos. Due to the fact that I rent 5 farms, spread over 35 miles, it was important to have a setup that is portable and easy to use. With this adaptive equipment I can set up, catch, and work my cattle with no, or very little, help. If the task does require help, it is very minimal and less of a burden, so it is easier to find help when I need it.”
Hergott says the knowledge and encouragement AgrAbility staff provided has been priceless, from a no-cost process change to higher dollar equipment. "They are experienced in the field and have many great ideas on ways to make things easier or possible. And, the most valuable—they are always there to lend an ear whether you need advice or simply encouragement."
Nebraska AgrAbility assists farmers and ranchers with disabilities return to their work in agriculture. The project is a USDA funded program that partners University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension (UNL) and Easter Seals Nebraska (ESN) to provide education, assistance, and advocacy. Since 1995 Nebraska AgrAbility has helped over 430 farm and ranch clients.
Nebraska AgrAbility is a joint effort of the University of Nebraska Extension and Easter Seals Nebraska. This material is based upon the work supported by the Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under special project number #2006-41590-03461.