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October 2009


The Missouri AgrAbility Project is pleased to announce that Don Schuster has joined the project to provide direct assistance to consumers needing farmstead assessments and other personalized services.  Don recently retired from the National Resource Conservation Service, and is familiar with Government programs which can benefit AgrAbility clients.   Don will work with Jackie Allenbrand in NW Missouri and Russell Ramsey in SE Missouri to coordinate farm assessment activities.  Though Brad Marsh (with Services for Independent Living, SIL,  and part of the MAP for more than 15 years) recently accepted a full time position with SIL, he will continue a formal .15 FTE appointment with MAP as an advisor, mentor, consultant and trainer. Don may be contacted at the MAP number, 1-800-995-8503, or directly by e-mail at .

Submitted by: Willard Downs

Don Schuster, newly hired Assistive Technology Coordinator for the Missouri AgrAbility Project completed a two-day, on-the-farm assessment training facilitated by Willard Downs and Brad Marsh. Also, in early June, Don attended the on-the-farm assessment training workshop in Wisconsin coupled with shadowing Bob Schultheis, University of Missouri Extension Natural Resource Engineer. Brad Marsh coordinated a walk about with Don around several farms and discussed observations as it would relate to individuals with a variety of disabilities.  This has been done several times before as preparation for VR training workshops, and found to be good exercise. This also gave Don a chance to see what the typical Missouri "barriers" he might encounter during his on-the-farm visits. Prior to the farm tour(s), some time was spent going through some Missouri cases the AgrAbility Project has worked in the past, with a chance for Don to see how Brad solved accessibility issues. 

Trisa Nickoley, graduate assistant, Willard Downs, and Karen Funkenbusch are in the final phases of completing the development a rural disability, health, and quality of life needs assessment survey that will be disseminated to hobby farmers migrating into Missouri’s rural agricultural communities.  The investigators hope to learn more about the rising demands and concerns of this intended audience. Additional information will be shared once survey results are completed.         

Missouri farmers Russell and Wanda Ramsey as well as Pamela Osborn received scholarships from the National AgrAbility Project to attend the National AgrAbility Training Workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Comments from the field… shared by Russell Ramsey, Missouri farmer, National AgrAbility Scholarship recipient, and presenter for the “Farm Panel” during National Training Workshop. Russell discusses his work with AgrAbility, recovery from a serious farm injury, and other topics. Full transcript

Submitted by: Karen Funkenbusch