Mary Housner and her husband, Gary, run Bo-Irish Farms outside of Elroy, Wisconsin. Feeding the cows required Mary to bend down and lift heavy loads. Because of the pain caused by fibromyalgia, Mary had trouble doing the chores, and more work ultimately fell to Gary, aggravating his own back problems. Getting the farm work done was becoming increasing difficult for the family.
The family’s banker told the Housners about AgrAbility of Wisconsin and Mary contacted them to find out what help and advice they might be able to provide. They directed Mary to the Easter Seals Wisconsin FARM Program and Mary made arrangements for a Rural Rehabilitation Specialist to visit their operation. The specialist visited the farm several times, walking through the operation with Mary, discussing each chore that needed to be done and whether it was causing her difficulties. The specialist suggested installing a TMR mixer and using new grain and silage carts to make feeding easier and to reduce the strain on Mary’s back.
Recommendations were submitted to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which provided some financial assistance purchase the equipment. “I pinch myself every time I come out here because I can’t believe it really did happen; they really came through for me,” Mary said after the accommodations were made. Thanks to the changes made to the farm operation, Mary is confident that she will be farming well into the future.