Dancing with Cows
Part 1 by Janis Moore
Vermont means different things to different people and to me, Vermont is a rural state with a strong agricultural history. Agrability and VCIL are partners under the federal AgrAbility Grant. We are all on the same team. My name is Janis Moore and I am the Vermont Center for Independent Living’s AgrAbility Specialist. I work along side Tom Younkman with the Peer Support Program.
Although I am new to the AgrAbility project, I am not new to agriculture. I raise beef cattle in Springfield, Vermont; have been a traveling farm sitter for 30 years, a lifetime 4-H supporter, am a disaster animal rescue responder, and this summer hope to raise 4 kinds of squash for the local farmers co-op & market. My boots are always covered in good manure; my barn clothes are muddy, greased and ripped from wire and wear. I love looking at good livestock, old tractors( with ROPS) and well built barns.
Eating a meal with a farmer and talking about “farm stuff” is my all time favorite thing to do. I have also had my share of agricultural injuries. In fact, as I write this I am struggling on crutches and a leg brace. This most recent one was from working with an agitated cow.
I could have used some Peer Support then.
The Peer Support Program connects farmers with newly acquired disabilities, including injuries and illness (diabetes, COPd, Fybromyalgia, along those lines) with others who have figured out how to keep farming in spite of the challenge. Sustaining a serious injury or illness is a life changing occurrence that can be devastating, particularly when it limits day-to-day activities. Such a life change may result in social, financial and psychological problems, such as anger, confusion or depression. Social support systems, including peer support, can play a significant role in the health and well being of people. I believe this to be true, especially with the farmers.
To find out more about this program and how it can help you, a family member or someone you know, call me or Tom Younkman at 802-229-6419. I hope to be ditching these crutches post haste and will not be dancing with any agitated cows, any time soon.