Farmer builds brilliant product following life-changing injury

After suffering a life-changing injury, vegetable farmer Dick Weldon turned his problem into an opportunity which has turned out to be very successful.
Farming is recognised as one of Ireland’s most dangerous occupations, linked no doubt to the challenges of weather, shortage of labour and mechanisation. In November 2011 vegetable farmer, Dick Weldon experienced a life-changing event on his farm in Co. Meath. While carrying out a maintenance job on his purpose-built vegetable harvester; a spanner slipped and hit a sensor, switching on the machine, resulting in the loss of use of his arm – and a premature end to his farming career.
Turning a problem into an opportunity has been the hallmark of many start-up businesses. This is a story of resilience, about a man using his creative talents to manufacture a rehabilitation tool called proFITSTICK. A tool developed to help himself and others, deal with the suffering from injury and pain.
Innovation experience
In 1992 we took over the farm from my father. We started with a 40 acre vegetable farm and by 2013, we finished up farming on 450 acres, growing 100 acres of parsnips and 50 acres of brassica’s every year. As a grower, making it easier to harvest parsnips on wet ground was a problem that needed to be solved. The inspiration for a solution arose, from a national school trip to the midlands, back some 50 years ago. The tour was to a Bord na Mona (BNM) plant, where large tractors on tracks, were able to travel with ease across bogs, extracting and milling peat. Over the years that image stayed with me and it sparked the question as to ‘why not build something on tracks that could help lift produce out of the ground?’
In 1998 there were four main parsnip producers in Ireland, all with a similar

This post was originally published here - on thinkbusiness

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