Courtesy Heftee Industries, Inc.
The Heftee Service Lift, one of the products catalogued in AgrAbility’s Toolbox, lifts small equipment for repair or maintenance, helping protect the user’s back.
The National AgrAbility Project’s online assistive technology database, The Toolbox, has expanded its offerings to include horticulture, gardening and forestry tools.
The Toolbox is a collection of products that help agricultural workers with disabling injuries or illnesses complete difficult tasks in easier and more effective ways, such as with modified hand controls for utility vehicles, tools with extended handles, and heavy-duty outdoor wheelchairs and scooters.
Since its launch in September 2011, The Toolbox has added about 90 products and continues to add about 20 per month.
New products include log-cutting and brush-clearing equipment for owners of woodlands and forests and orchard and nursery aids for fruit and vegetable farmers.
“Our new products are meant to serve a wide range of disabilities because we have farmers with a wide variety of needs and a wide variety of ag-related enterprises,” says Paul Jones, AgrAbility project manager. “Our list of new products ranges from specialty items, such as hydroponic gardening systems, to tools for activities that would occur around any type of farm—products to make chainsaws safer, for example.”
The Toolbox originally was a printed catalog of equipment and tips for farmers with disabilities. Since it went online, traffic at the AgrAbility website has more than doubled—from 1,600 visits in July 2011 to more than 4,000 in February 2012.
AgrAbility, a USDA-sponsored nonprofit, includes a national project led by the Breaking New Ground Resource Center at Purdue. State and regional AgrAbility projects serve 25 states, each involving collaborative partnerships between land-grant universities and various nonprofit disability services organizations.