Michigan AgrAbility has partnered with Holland-area farmer Doug Ver Hoeven in establishing a demonstration farm where farmers can see and try a variety of assistive technology tools and equipment before investing in aides that can sometimes carry a hefty price tag.
Ver Hoeven has been farming from a wheelchair for more than 40 years as a result of a vehicle accident while in high school. An AgrAbility client and member of the organization’s farmer advisory panel, Ver Hoeven has a wealth of experience and useful information to help farmers select premade items or engineer custom assistive technology tools suited for individual needs.
Through years of farming, he has accumulated tools, ideas and methods that have helped preserve his working limbs and allowed him to operate his family farm.
He also founded and operates a nonprofit, Fulfilling Life Ministries, with the purpose of helping people with disabilities share his passion for the outdoors by helping them find opportunities to learn and enjoy hunting and fishing sports.
“The demonstration farm has been a dream for many years, and something that is really needed in the farming community,” says Ned Stoller, assistive technology professional and Michigan AgrAbility agricultural engineer. “It gives farmers the opportunity to try it before you buy it and gives them a chance to gain ideas by seeing what accommodations another farmer has built.”
Included in the demonstration items are lifts, ramps, outdoor mobility vehicles, hitch attachments and simple overhead door-handling equipment. Smaller items such as pruners, anti-vibration gloves and easy attachments for hydraulic hoses are just a few of the items incorporated into the project.
The farm is open for individuals or groups by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call Michigan AgrAbility at 800-956-4106.
For additional information, contact Bev Berens at 616-886-1909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.