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November 2009


The Oklahoma AgrAbility Project and Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services presented to participants at the National AgrAbility Training Workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan October 5 – 8, 2009. Training on “How To Effectively Partner with State Departments of Rehabilitation Services for Enhanced Outcomes” was provided by Melinda Fruendt, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Project Coordinator; Linda Jaco, Oklahoma AgrAbility Co-Director; and Sandra Stevenson, Oklahoma AgrAbility Program Manager.

Topics covered included benefits in partnering with the Department of Rehabilitation, successful steps in building a strong frame work for a Memorandum of Understanding, and how to achieve the coveted fee-for-service contract with the Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Oklahoma AgrAbility was awarded a fee-for-service Milestone Contract with Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Effective October 1, 2009, Oklahoma AgrAbility will receive payment for services provided to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers that receive services from either division (vocational rehabilitation or visual services) of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Linda Jaco, Oklahoma AgrAbility Co-Director said, “The Milestone Contract is the product of many years of collaboration, communication and planning. This type of award is not handed out over night!”

The Oklahoma AgrAbility Project is paid in two-part milestones that include on-farm site assessments and successful case closures.

The Oklahoma AgrAbility 2009 Fall Workshop “Rehabilitating Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers” was conducted on October 23-24, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Training was provided to physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, and occupational therapist assistants, disability navigators with the Migrant Seasonal Farm Worker Grant as well as vocational rehabilitation counselors, visual service trainers and assistive technology practitioners and specialists with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation. There were 50 participants in attendance. The overwhelming response of the participants was that the course provided them with education and tools necessary for addressing the unique rehabilitation needs of agriculture workers.

Speakers at the workshop included Representative John Enns, Oklahoma House District 41; Millee Jorge, Dean of the School of Physical Therapy at Langston University; Linda Jaco, Director of Sponsored Programs at the Seretean Wellness Center, Oklahoma State University; Randy Taylor, Associate Professor, OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; James Trapp, Associate Director Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service; Sandra Stevenson, Oklahoma AgrAbility Project Manager; and Dr. Michael O’Brien, Director of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. The course was supported by OSU staff at the Willard Sparks Beef Research Center, the Agronomy Research Station, and faculty from the Langston University School of Physical Therapy.

The intensive two-day workshop provided training on AgrAbility, farm culture, farm environments and tasks, and assistive technology, funding and clinical case studies. To date, Oklahoma AgrAbility has provided farmer and rancher rehabilitation training to over 200 professionals through this workshop.

The Oklahoma AgrAbility Project is following the footsteps of the National AgrAbility Project.  We are seeing green! The Project now has a crisp, agricultural look. The Oklahoma AgrAbility website,, is up and running with a new look. We hope to provide clients, and others interested, with more resources and information that will meet their needs.

We want clients and others interested in the Oklahoma AgrAbility Project to be able to use, understand, and interact with the information contained within the site, with or without the use of assistive technology.  Oklahoma ABLE Tech, one of the Oklahoma AgrAbility Project partners, is the organization responsible for training and technical assistance for the state of Oklahoma, under the Electronic Information Technology Accessibility law.  Amanda Erichsen, Extension Assistant, completed Web Accessibility Training at the Information Technology Accessibility Conference May 27 and 28, in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma County Master Gardeners Presentation – Shianne Megel presented the benefits of gardening with the ergonomic tools to more than 150 Master Gardener’s in Oklahoma County.  For more information about the Oklahoma Master Gardener’s please visit

“Fuel from the Field”, Oklahoma Grown – Amanda Erichsen and Shianne Megel attended Oklahoma State University’s biofuels field day to increase awareness of the Oklahoma AgrAbility Project.  The field day was held on October 21st in Chickasha.  For more information about the OSU Biobased Products and Energy Center please visit http://www.

Submitted by: Amanda Erichsen