Farmer with Quadriplegia Designs Accessible Tractor

Doug Barker can operate the tractor while seated inside his wheelchair.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Ctv winnipeg.ca

Doug Barker is a farmer and quadriplegic who has designed a tractor that he can operate while seated inside it in his wheelchair.

Seventeen years ago, Barker, who farms near Teulon, broke his neck in six places.

“When I first got hurt, the doctor basically said you know, you’re not going to ever use your legs again, or your arms,” said Barker.

Two years ago, he saw a tractor on television that had modifications to make it accessible to a person with physical challenges.

“When I saw it, I thought.we could probably build a cab like that, that would (also) accommodate a wheelchair,” he said.

While there have been other tractors designed for people with physical challenges, Barker believes his is the first that allows a person in a
wheelchair to operate it while still seated in their wheelchair.

“It’s never been done before,” said Barker After two years of design work and help from people in the community,
Barker’s tractor, nicknamed Independence, has been completed.

“This has been a dream of his, and this has given him life,” said Neil Enns, president of Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities.

Barker intends to eventually set up a website so he can help other farmers with disabilities.

– with a report from CTV’s Jon Hendricks

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