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June 2009


AgrAbility Council Member Paul Parham, USDA/NRCS Soil Conservation
Technician, presented AgrAbility information, brochures, adapted garden tools and other assistive technology to the Oklahoma NRCS Civil Rights Advisory Committee on May 19.

Oklahoma AgrAbility Project partnered with the Oklahoma State University, School of Architecture’s student organization, Freedom by Design, to provide assistive technology to an Oklahoma farmer in need of a mounting block that would enable him to get on and off his horse more safely and easily.

Students Aaron Douglas and Sonoka Iwama travelled  to the farm with AgrAbility staff to view the horse trailer and see first-hand the need for the mounting block.

“We came back and hit the drawing boards. We met as a group, brainstormed as many different ideas we could generate and came up with the best solution for our client.” said Aaron Douglas “The portable set of steps we created are larger than a normal mounting block as his horse is almost 16 hands tall. We worked closely with the Architecture Mentor Mohammed Bilbeisi, RA and the Engineering Mentor Carisa Ramming, PE to ensure we used the safest and most appropriate types of materials.” Douglas said.

OkAT (Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation)  provided  the funding needed to purchase the materials for the project. “This is a very unique opportunity for Oklahoma AgrAbility, OkAT and Freedom by Design to coordinate efforts. We are looking forward to working with future students in designing assistive technology for our farmers and ranchers with disabilities.” said Sandra Stevenson, Oklahoma AgrAbility, Program Manager.

Freedom by Design (FBD) is an American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) led program that utilizes the talents of architecture students in service to their communities by helping individuals with physical challenges. For further information about FBD, visit their web-site at

Amanda Erichsen, Extension Assistant, completed Web Accessibility Training at the Information Technology Accessibility Conference May 27 and 28.

Oklahoma AgrAbility staff also participated in the Langston University Small Farmer's Conference on the Oklahoma City Campus on May 27-29.

Submitted by: Amanda Erichsen