Small Towns: Rural Health Initiative brings health care to the farm

WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. - On the border of Waupaca County, Thomas Riley and his wife Kari have continued a profession that's been woven into their very being.

"Once you grow up on a farm it's just in your blood," Thomas said.

Their days working the farm are rewarding, but also long and busy.

"It's a 365 day a year job, so it doesn't matter if it's your birthday or Christmas, you still have to do it," Thomas explained.

When you work hours like this, any farmer will tell you it's hard to make time to go to the doctor.

"You spend your time caring for everybody else," said Kari. "Every animal, your farm, everything else and don't take care of yourself."

This is where the Rural Health Initiative comes in. It's a non profit organization that caters to the health care needs of farmers, their families and employees by coming right to farms in Shawano, Outagamie and Waupaca Counties.

"It was started by a group of people that went out into the community and found that there was a need for a health care service that can go to these farmers," said one Rural Health Initiative nurse.

"My dad, to this day, unless he's got an ailment, it's hard to get him to go," said Kari.

Over the last 13 years, the Rural Health Initiative has helped diagnose, and screen, more than 1,000 farmers, all from the comfort of their home.

While the benefits are really discovered In the form of early diagnosis and preventative treatment, farmers are also offered this service for free.

For more information on the Rural Health Initiative, visit their website here.

Print this article Back to Top