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Dogs lend a helping hand to farmers with disabilities

PHARM Dog earns Channeling Good Effort Award from Bayer, supporting its mission.

Elizabeth Hodges, Staff Writer

September 1, 2023

2 Min Read
Border collie in field with cattle
WORKING PARTNERSHIP: Dogs are commonplace on many farms across the U.S. However, it takes a special one to complete training and work alongside disabled farmers and ranchers. PHARM Dog offers just that type of training and relationship building. Visit their booth at Husker Harvest Days.vyasphoto/Getty Images

According to a recent USDA economic research survey, 19% of farmers have a disability. This could include physical, cognitive or illness-related ones.

Jackie Allenbrand, PHARM Dog USA founder, set out on a mission to train rescue dogs for agricultural tasks. This Missouri-based organization’s goal is to help farmers with disabilities by giving them a right-hand man, or better yet, a right-hand dog.

PHARM stands for Pets Helping Agriculture in Rural Missouri, but the organization isn’t just for farmers in the Show-Me State.

At the Husker Harvest Days Hospitality Tent, you can meet Allenbrand and learn more about this program for farmers. From literature about the program to pictures of past farmer and dog placements to coloring pages for kids, the PHARM Dog booth is one to put on your list.

Finding funding can be difficult, and big companies like Channel Seed saw the need for this work.

PHARM Dog USA was the recipient of the Channeling Good Effort Award. The company will contribute funds and resources that will allow PHARM Dog to expand, reaching more farmers.

This niche type of training requires either a border collie or a Labrador along with a trainer that can prepare them for the hard work on the farm. So far, the group has placed 23 dogs with farmers to help with daily tasks on the farm.

Matching dog to farmer

To enter the program, farmers apply online at As the application goes through the process, the organization trains a dog — either a border collie for herding or a Labrador for retrieval and mobility purposes — based on the applicant’s needs.

If you have questions, check out the PHARM Dog booth at Husker Harvest Days this year or send an email to Allenbrand at [email protected].

Read more about:

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About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Hodges

Staff Writer, Farm Progress

Growing up on a third-generation purebred Berkshire hog operation, Elizabeth Hodges of Julian, Neb., credits her farm background as showing her what it takes to be involved in the ag industry. She began her journalism career while in high school, reporting on producer progress for the Midwest Messenger newspaper.

While a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she became a Husker Harvest Days intern at Nebraska Farmer in 2022. The next year, she was hired full time as a staff writer for Farm Progress. She plans to graduate in 2024 with a double major in ag and environmental sciences communications, as well as animal science.

Being on the 2022 Meat Judging team at UNL led her to be on the 2023 Livestock Judging team, where she saw all aspects of the livestock industry. She is also in Block and Bridle and has held different leadership positions within the club.

Hodges’ father, Michael, raises hogs, and her mother, Christy, is an ag education teacher and FFA advisor at Johnson County Central. Hodges is the oldest sibling of four.

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