AgrAbility helps 93-year-old farmer

  • Published: Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016

NAPOLEON, Mo. – Harry Keutzer has farmed almost all of his 93 years. Despite aging knees, he doesn’t plan to quit anytime soon.

The Missouri AgrAbility Project helps him maintain his health and wealth through research-based information, direct assistance on his farm and referrals.

Keutzer represents a growing number of aging farmers who want to keep farming or ranching, says Karen Funkenbusch, director of the Missouri AgrAbility Project and a University of Missouri Extension state health and safety specialist.

At his Lafayette County farm, Keutzer checks on the chickens and takes water to cattle. He also sorts and washes produce for Kansas City-area farmers markets, where he also sells eggs and hand-loomed rugs. The rugged terrain of his yard, garden and feedlots makes work slow and difficult, especially in rain and mud. He reached out to AgrAbility for advice.

Lincoln University farm and AgrAbility outreach worker Susan Jaster says Keutzer’s energy level surprised her during a three-hour assessment of his farm. “He has the energy and deserves to be able to carry on his active life,” she says.

Funkenbusch and Jaster showed Keutzer a new mobility device designed to help him move more safely and easily. They recommended a hydraulic lift to load produce into an enclosed truck.

They also discussed changes to improve mobility and safety in his home.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of USDA, administers the National AgrAbility Project. For more information on Missouri AgrAbility, go to

Writer: Linda Geist

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Karen Funkenbusch

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