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CCFB News» October 2018

Downwind"Keep all your parts, please"

10/01/2018 @ 7:00 am | By Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

It’s 1973 and young Bobby Rohrer is on the edge of the couch ready for the show to begin.


Lee Majors (As Col. Steve Austin): “Flight down, I can't hold it. She's breaking up. She's breaking...”

Narrator:Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive”.

Richard Anderson (As Oscar Goldman):Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better... stronger... faster.”


Yes, the opening to the 1970’s TV show the Six Million Dollar Man.  I loved that show as a kid. I wanted to be Steve Austin; I wanted to have his speed, strength and amazing eyesight. And especially his left arm!

I had a pretty good imagination as a kid but there was a practical yearning to it as well. You see, I lost my left arm in a farm accident at age 3. The TV show made it seem possible to be “rebuilt”.  Having a super strong arm with bionic abilities seemed a dream come true and I could imagine the possibilities. I would have put my super powers to “good use” by dominating area basketball, baseball, football and golf while serving as a kid secret agent on the side.  When I was not saving the world from nuclear disaster following a 4-homer game, I would help Dad and Mom on the farm in my spare moments by throwing hay bales up to the loft, picking up tractors to change tires and straightening bent nails (because I could).


I was brought quickly back to my “Six Million Dollar” dreams when I saw this photo the other day in FarmWeek … Yup, I’ll take one of those arms!

Boston's Northeastern University mechanical engineering students demonstrate the "farm arm"

an upper arm prosthetic they created. (Photo by Matthew Madoono/ Northeastern University).


The photo accompanied an editorial by Robert Giblin that provided a glimpse into the high-tech world of engineering and technology prosthetics that are being developed for farmers and ranchers who have experienced major physical injuries or chronic illnesses that have resulted in the loss of a limb.  Inspired by the Boston marathon bombing, many advances are being developed by Northeastern University students on research previously conducted by Northwestern University prosthetics and orthotics center in Evanston with a local organization AgrAbility (  These prosthetics even have electronic skin with receptors to feel sensations!

That’s incredible!  Farming continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations every year along with construction, fishing, mining and logging.  When you go to a gathering of farmers, inevitably there will be a farmer with missing body parts that came as a result of a farm accident.  In the past, the loss of body parts had the potential of ending one’s farming career. However, technology and engineering today is solving the effects of devastating, life changing farm accidents.  And just think of the potential accessory arm farm attachments: impact wrench, sledge, tooth pick, drill, welding torch, mobile smart phone, etc!


Narrator: “We can rebuild them. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic farmers. Better... stronger... faster.”

Amazing solutions are finally a reality and, from experience, it is certainly less painful, less expensive and less frustrating to keep your original parts by practicing farm safety, every day. Plus super strength is overrated.


A Farm Bureau Fall Safety message to Farmers and Family: Think about safety on roads, tractor and heavy equipment safety, kids in the area, confined spaces and physical/mental health. With harvest season underway, the topic is especially important as you work long hours using powerful equipment in dangerous situations. You are not replaceable, and your family, friends, and neighbors need you to be whole and healthy. Please be safe!

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