Local dairy producer receives help of Colorado AgrAbility

Besides the dairy milk, meat and eggs that her livestock provide her, Vickie Paxtonís goats and chickens give her a reason to get out of bed each morning and force her to keep moving. Movement is important for a person dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. However, the accompanying chronic pain and joint inflammation had Vickie wondering if she could continue working with her livestock as she always had.

Vickie, who resides in Montezuma County, attended a workshop she saw advertised in her local paper for Colorado AgrAbility. She had their occupational therapist come to her farm at no cost and offer ideas on how to work easier while protecting her joints and conserving her energy. They brainstormed options to feed and milk her goats, clean the pens, and get around the property with less effort.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), a state agency that assists injured workers, stepped in to provide more hope by purchasing for Vickie equipment to clean the goat pens. Vickie is also working with Natural Resource Conservation Service for their high tunnel program so that she can extend her vegetable crop production season. She hopes that in the future, raised container beds and ergonomic tools will also help ease her joint pain.

Colorado State University Extension and Goodwill Industries of Denver work together on the Colorado AgrAbility Project to provide disability workshops, on-site evaluations, resource information, equipment modification and assistive technology. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides funding for the Colorado AgrAbility Project.

For more information about the Colorado AgrAbility Project, contact Dr. Bob Fetsch at 491-5648 or Robert.fetsch@colostate.edu, or visit www.agrability.cahs.colostate.edu.