AgrAbility eNote banner
May 2009


Occupational and physical therapists from northeastern Nebraska recently took part in a day-long seminar, Rehabilitating Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers Disabilities.   The workshop was held at the Nielsen Community Center in West Point, NE., on April 29th.

Sponsored by Nebraska AgrAbility, the workshop was designed to help health care professionals become more competent in the care they give to an agricultural population that they see on a regular basis. 

Lead instructor for the seminar was Carla Wilhite, OTR/L, of University of North Dakota, Casper College. Wilhite was instrumental in developing the AOTA-approved curriculum used in the seminar.  She added her own experiences and expertise to supplement topics such as the farm culture, farm tasks and their hazards, and treatment interventions.  Wilhite also led the clinical exercises, using information from the day in a scenario to recommend treatment for an AgrAbility client.

Other instructors for the workshop included:  Sharry Nielsen UNL Extension Educator - NE AgrAbility; Rodney Peterson and Del Ficke, Easter Seals NE Rural Rehabilitation Specialists NE AgrAbility; Kelly Kahman, ESN; Larry Neimeyer and Karen Zimmerman, Vocational Rehabilitation Services of NE. 

Participants learned about the needs of farmers and ranchers with disabilities, and some of the technology that might be used to keep them working in production agriculture.  Workshop attendees also learned about the work of AgrAbility and resources available to them.  In addition to classroom work, a farm visit to the Eric Beckman farm gave students actual experience in some of the assistive technology used by AgrAbility clients.

On April 20, Bill Booker, Nebraska AgrAbility, received one of two Dinsdale Family Faculty Awards.  These awards recognize outstanding teaching, research, and outreach in the Institute of Ag and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Bill joined IANR as an educator in Box Butte County in 2004 and brought to the position his expertise and experience as an agricultural producer and sunflower seed representative.  He joined the Nebraska AgrAbility team in 2008.

Submitted by: Sharry Nielsen