Sunday, July 12, 2020

Meet Bob VanDenBerg

Meet Bob VanDenBerg

Bob VanDenBerg is a lifelong dairy farmer from Allegan County, Michigan, who after a farming accident which impaired his vision, still milks 150 cows and farms 600 acres with his brother, nephew, and father Paul. Ned Stoller, Foresight Services, LLC, did an onsite farm engineering evaluation to determine the best way to adapt the farm to accommodate Bob’s disability. Julie Zeller and Carrie Datels from Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), met with Stoller and VanDenBerg to discuss the farm operations and the impact of the disability on the business. 

VanDenBerg’s visual impairment resulted in many falls from walking on uneven ground and poor depth perception.  “I don’t have to leave the parlor to get the cows in anymore,” Bob said. He was referring  to his new crowd gate, purchased by Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Stoller recommended the crowd gate, which is a moving gate that could be installed in the holding pen behind the milking parlor. The person milking could push a button and move the gate forward. The moving gate would “crowd” the cows forward so they would enter the milking parlor. This crowd gate will allow Bob to bring cows into the milking parlor without climbing the steep ramp from the parlor and walking out into the slippery holding pen.

Stoller also recommended a mechanic’s creeper and wagon quick hitches, which MRS purchased. The mechanic’s creeper means Bob will not have to crawl from one place to another, and the floor jack will allow him to change from a sitting position to a standing one. The quick hitches will allow for easier wagon hitching and unhitching.

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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