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Farmer: Pat Nagle, Rockford, TN  (Blount County)

Type farming operation: Miniature horses are Pat's main commodity, and Pat and Bob Nagle have the official miniature horse exhibit at the Kentcky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.  Pat has shown her horses at numerous livestock shows, and she has conducted several workshops on harnessing and harness racing. 

Pat also has an assorted of other 'normal' and exotic livestock, some of which were adopted from people who no longer wanted them.

Nature of disability: Back injury.  Permanent back injury that has caused loss of strength of the left leg and has caused significant pain.

Challenges to meet: Pat's back injury causes lack of strength and endurance which makes if difficult for her to operate the clutch on her Massey Ferguson 245 tractor.  Because Pat raises hay for her animals she was interested in regaining the ability to sfaely operate her tractor, freeing her husband Bob to do other chores that she cannot do due to her injury.

Solutions: AgrAbility staff visited Pat in 1997 to evaluate her needs and determined that a simple hand clutch  lever could be designed to allow easy use of the clutch with the left hand.  A simple hand lever was developed that fits directly on the end of the clutch shaft. 

There were no permanent modifications to the tractor.  The clutch linkage of the tractor is fully exposed, and the end of the cluth shaft which protudes from the left side of the bellhousing provided trhe perfect location for attaching the clutch hand lever.  The lever was bent so that it does not interfere with the operator's normal motions, and a bracket was installed to hold the clutch lever back in the disengaged position while the tractor operator shifts the PTO.  Also, the hand lever does not in any way interfere with normal operation of the clutch pedal, so the tractor remained fully functional for unimpaired operators. 

Left: Pat demonstrates the hand clutch lever on her tractor.  If you look carefully, you can see the bracket that holds the lever in the disengaged position, freeing the left hand to shift the PTO and perform other chores as necessary.  Right:  Pat and Patricia discuss the success of the hand clutch in meeting Pat's needs. 
AgrAbility Project staff always advise customers on ways to prevent further inuries and illnesses when appropriate.  Since tractor overturns are the leading cause of farm work related deaths, and because deaths are virtually eliminated by the use of a ROPS and seat belt, Patricia discusses the advantages of retrofitting a ROPS and seta belt onto Pat's tractor. 
The John Deere AMT is one of the newest workhorses on the Nagle farm.  This is a popular vehicle with farmers all over the region due to its manueverability, flotation tires, economical operation and suitability for a wide variety of chores. 
Producing quality hay is important for good animal health and for economical use of a farmer's time and other inputs.  Contact your Extension agent for recommendations on producing and storing high quality forages. 
Pat and one of her horses (definitely not a minature) after a workout.

Cost of modifications: Materials cost less than $50 for the hand clutch lever.

Benefits: The hand clutch allows Pat to cut and bale hay and use the front end loader safely without resorting to hired labor.

  • UT Extension
  • Easter Seals - AgrAbility Project