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Technology has huge role on this farm

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Big technology boost
The in-cab technology in his Deere 9670 combine helps Eric Beckman, a Pender, Nebraska corn and soybean farmer, run the machine. A pickup accident left Eric a quadriplegic 3 years ago.


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Technology means a heck of a lot more than GPS guidance and yield monitors for the Beckman family.

Three years ago, Bob Beckman found himself facing a life-altering situation. His son, Eric, who was poised to take over the family farm, was left a quadriplegic after a pickup rollover accident. It was a shock, to be sure, one that the Beckman family thought would change everything.

"I cannot describe the emotions we went through," Bob says. "But, we made the best of everything we could."

Fast forward 3 years: On a sunny late-September afternoon on the family's farm in Cuming County, Nebraska, Eric's combining soybeans and unloading on-the-go. That's right: With a few adjustments to their Deere 9670 combine, Eric, who has "very little movement" in his arms, is able to combine the family's around 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans.

Despite being largely self-sufficient for his condition, Eric does still need some help here and there; he can drive his pickup (modified for his condition) just as he can drive the combine, but he still needs a boost to get from his pickup to a specially designed lift system to the combine's cab. His family makes that possible. Technology -- and Eric's hard work and drive toward self-sufficiency -- does a lot to enable him to work in the field like any other farmer.

"They told me he'd never walk again," Bob says. "He's in the combine today."

(Editor's Note: Photos by Doug Hetherington).

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