Grown Here at Home: Bland County farmer with cerebral palsy gets help from AgrAbility Virginia

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 7:32 AM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - AgrAbility Virginia is a program that supports farmers experiencing illness, injury, or disability. They’ve been a great help to David King; a beef cattle farmer in Bland County. His story is one of many highlighted on AgrAbility Virginia’s website. David contacted them because he was having trouble getting off his tractor.

“David was born with cerebral palsy and has had several injuries and illnesses throughout his life that have left him with limited mobility. Something we’ve been able to help David with is to get him some automatic gates for his fences. Those allow him to move through the pastures and around the farm without dismounting from his tractor, walking over to the gate, and risking cows getting loose because it takes more time for him to get from the gate back into his tractor,” explained Garland Mason, program coordinator for AgrAbility Virginia.

Now all David needs is a remote to open and close the gates. AgrAbility Virginia works with several organizations to help farmers get what they need to do their jobs well. The Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services is one of their key partners.

“They help us find avenues for folks to get those assistive technologies on the farm,” Garland explained.

So, farmers like David, can continue doing what they love with a little more ease.

“Those automatic gate openers have really helped him continue to farm independently and in a more safe way,” Garland said.

David’s story is just one way AgrAbility helps farmers. They offer mental health resources, and even educate backyard gardeners on tools they can use to make the work easier.

AgrAbility Virginia hosts several events to helps farmers and gardeners. You can follow them on Facebook to get the latest information.