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March 2009


AgrAbility of Wisconsin hosted its annual Advisory Council meeting at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in December 2008. AgrAbility client, Mike Hansen of Good Earth Farms in Milladore, WI was the guest speaker. Good Earth Farms also provided local foods for the council members.  Those in attendance included representatives from the state legislature, USDA- FSA, SD Ellenbecker Inc, WI DFS-WisTech, Dunndale Swiss Farm, WI State Farmer newspaper, WI-DATCP-Wisconsin Farm Center, Rural Mutual Insurance, UW Renk AgriBusiness Institute, Springdale Farm, UW Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension & Outreach, UW Professional Development and Applied Studies, Easter Seals and AgrAbility of Wisconsin Farmers Network and Speakers Bureau members.

Submitted by:  Mary Beck

"Assistive Technology Equipment Recommended for and Obtained by Farmers with Disabilities" was presented at the Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). This conference was held in Louisville, KY, Feb 8-11, 2009. The study, supported by the US Department of Education, was led by Paul Leverenz, Mark Novak, and Ron Schuler. The PowerPoint presentation will be posted on the ASABE website. (

This study was designed to evaluate the 1100 pieces of assistive technology obtained by 178 Wisconsin farmers through AgrAbility of Wisconsin and the WI Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. More than 90 percent of the equipment is still being used, and is in excellent or good condition, and makes their chores easier to complete. Thirty pieces of equipment are no longer being used, and are available to other farmers with disabilities. A reutilization website has been established to facilitate farmer to farmer transfer of this equipment. The website is

Submitted by: Ron Schuler

The University of Wisconsin has continued its initiative to build awareness and increase service capacity among occupational and physical therapists working with farmers who sustain a disabling condition. The first session of our 6 week online continuing education course is scheduled for March 30th and will be facilitated by Dr. Therese Willkomm.  Therapists can earn 30 contact hours or 3 CEUs for their professional certification or licensing. The UW Extension has been granted status as an approved provider by the American Occupational Therapy Association. For course brochure click here.

Submitted by: Mary Beck