DENVER, Colo. – Brady Haynes is excited not just to continue farming, but also to expand his work in precision agriculture using newly acquired agricultural drones and data processing from Colorado’s own Agribotix. Haynes is wheelchair-bound, which adds another layer of difficulty to an already strenuous career in the Agriculture industry. These new resources will enable him to develop more of his skills and deliver more value to the farmers he serves in Northeastern Colorado. Thanks to the Colorado AgrAbility Project facilitated by Goodwill Industries of Denver, Mr. Haynes will be receiving two agricultural drones from Agribotix and will have the drone-data processed by Agribotix’s FarmLens software. He will use these resources in his agronomy practice to help growers accomplish goals like spotting and treating crop disease more effectively and using water more efficiently.
When asked about the AgrAbility program and its impact on his career, Haynes can’t say enough about the support it—and the people who run it—give him. “They work so hard! I’ve sent them a ton of ideas and they always get right back to me. Their guidance and support means the world to me.” Since beginning work with AgrAbility, with financial support from the Colorado Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehab, the program has helped him put two lifts on his pickup truck that are customized to allow him to safely and effectively maneuver and operate the heavy equipment his job requires without putting him at risk for further injury. This assistive equipment helps him stay productive in Agriculture, the industry on which we all depend for our food, clothes, and more.
The AgrAbility program began as part of the 1990 Farm Bill and is a competitive grant run by the USDA. Colorado State University has won the grant in four year increments for the past 20 years. The program requires the winning organization to partner with a nonprofit charity—that’s where Goodwill Industries of Denver comes in. Candiss Leathers of Goodwill and a leader in the AgrAbility program explains: “Both AgrAbility and Goodwill have a mission to give people hope and dignity in getting back to work, so it’s a perfect fit.” Through the program, AgrAbility Facilitators like Leathers visit farmers and ranchers across the state of Colorado who are dealing with a variety of barriers including permanent injuries, physical disabilities, long-term illness, and aging all in an effort to help these individuals continue their careers in Agriculture. AgrAbility provides assessments, recommendations, referrals, and make connections to resources like the Division of Vocational Rehab that have funding to purchase assistive equipment like Agribotix drones. Haynes’ contact at the Division of Vocational Rehab has been Tarren Riley in the Sterling office, and she has also been essential to the process. “It’s such a great relationship between Candiss and Tarren. They’re incredible people. I have the utmost respect for them,” said Haynes.
Leathers first learned about Agribotix two years ago and toured its office with Founder and retired Colorado School of Mines professor Dr. Tom McKinnon, who said, “It was great to learn about AgrAbility and show Candiss how our technology works. Now to have the opportunity to support their great efforts is truly a privilege, and we’re grateful for the chance to work with Brady.”
To learn more about AgrAbility and support Goodwill’s career development programming, please visit: goodwilldenver.org/agrability.
The Colorado AgrAbility Project is a unique partnership between Goodwill, Colorado State University Extension Services, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. AgrAbility helps Colorado farmers and ranchers continue working in the Agriculture industry despite a long term illness, permanent injury, aging, or a change in condition. The program promotes independence in Agriculture by providing direct assistance, resources, information and education to those dealing with functional limitations.
Agribotix’ FarmLens™ provides growers with “the Gateway to Precision Agriculture,” showing farmers and their agronomists the how, the why, and the ROI for data-driven agricultural technology. Founded in Colorado in 2013, Agribotix LLC delivers agricultural intelligence to increase yields and profits using drone-enabled technologies. All Agribotix solutions include FarmLens, a leading cloud-based data analysis and reporting solution for people using drones in agriculture. Outputs include agricultural intelligence maps for in-season fertilization, georeferenced reports that can be used to identify underperforming areas, and specialized reporting that supports precision agriculture programs. The FarmLens solution is available separately and in complete bundles including a drone system. For more information, visit www.agribotix.com or call (720) 295-3625.