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November 2009

National AgrAbility Project News

Mark your calendars for the 2010 AgrAbility National Training Workshop, October 11-14, in Charleston, West Virginia.The NAP thanks the West Virginia AgrAbility staff for their willingness to host the NTW. More details about the hotel, etc., are coming soon.

The National AgrAbility Project and Indiana AgrAbility, with financial support from NEC Foundation of America, sent an Assistive Technology for Rural Youth curriculum package to every FFA chapter in the U.S.More

AgrAbility was represented by the NAP and Indiana AgrAbility at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis on October 21-23.More

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


California AgrAbility staff was invited to conduct the Rehabilitating California's Farmers & Workers Training Workshop for the California Dept. of Rehabilitation, Statewide Assistive Technology Advisory Council in October. About 25 Advisors attended this training.

As a member of the California Small Farm Conference (CSFC) Executive Board, Cal AgrAbility is now recruiting small farmers and agriculture students to attend the 2010 training conference in San Diego.More

California Arthritis Foundation represented CalAgrAbility at a central valley farm worker health event and disseminated information about both programs.More

For November, National Diabetes Awareness Month, CalAgrAbility is promoting partner hospital and clinic events.More


Indiana has recently taken on a new adventure by partnering with a Indiana FFA member to serve as a youth ambassador for our program.More


Kansas AgrAbility staff presented a segment on How AgrAbility Networks with Other Providers to Assist Kansas Farmers and assisted with case study presentations at a mediator training for Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services on October 16 in Manhattan, KS.


Minnesota AgrAbility Project (MAP)-Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota (G/ESM) awarded 20 mini-grants to farmers who had received MAP services but had not received funded Vocational Rehabilitation services.More


At Bridging Science, Practice, and Culture to Improve Health in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Willard Downs presented Lets Talk About Arthritis poster abstract during the 2nd Annual Health Disparities Institute.More

Don Schuster, Assistive Technology Coordinator for the Missouri AgrAbility Project exhibited, facilitated, and disseminated disability, health, safety, and wellness information and resource materials during several events across the state.More

Trisa Nickoley, ACE certified, health education and promotion graduate research assistant with the Missouri AgrAbility Project, Willard Downs, and Karen Funkenbusch continue to finalize their rural lifestyle farmer health and disability survey.More

Karen Funkenbusch presented information about the Missouri AgrAbility Project during the AARP Drive Safely Workshop.More

Karen Funkenbusch is assisting Evan Prost, PT, BS Ed, GCS, Clinical Instructor and Research Assistant for the MU Department of Physical Therapy with his problem based course.More

Karen Funkenbusch and Trisa Nickoley were invited guest speakers for the MU PRT 3220 -Introduction to Recreation for People with Disabilities.More

Russell Ramsey, volunteer farmer with the Missouri AgrAbility Project, disseminated AgrAbility information and resource materials to local agencies in Southeast Missouri as well as well has been spending time visiting with his local farmers and ranchers to discuss services and assistance provided by the Missouri AgrAbility Project, Farm Service Agency, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.More

Brad Marsh, Consultant, to the Missouri AgrAbility Project, and Willard Downs are mentoring two student groups who are doing ASM Capstone Projects specific to the AgrAbility Project.More


Nebraska AgrAbility shared its mission with thousands of visitors to Husker Harvest Days, the largest totally irrigated working farm show in the world.More

Rural Rehabilitation Specialist Del Ficke along with Jim Lutz, a peer supporter whose son Jeff has a spinal cord injury, visited with three teens who attended Husker Harvest Days as part of FFA Day in Nebraska.More


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.More

Oklahoma AgrAbility was awarded a fee-for-service Milestone Contract with Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.More

The Oklahoma AgrAbility 2009 Fall Workshop Rehabilitating Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers was conducted on October 23-24, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.More

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.More

Oklahoma County Master Gardeners Presentation–Shianne Megel presented the benefits of gardening with the ergonomic tools to more than 150 Master Gardeners in Oklahoma County.More

Fuel from the Field, Oklahoma Grown–Amanda Erichsen and Shianne Megel attended Oklahoma State University biofuels field day to increase awareness of the Oklahoma AgrAbility Project.More


The Vermont AgrAbility Project has started a new blog.More


Mike Hansen, a Wisconsin farmer who attended the National AgrAbility Training Workshop in Michigan last month, was the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Volunteer from Easter Seals Wisconsin on November 3.More

West Virginia

Staff presented information at the State Rural Health Conference on WV AgrAbility and how the project involves community and healthcare professionals in identifying farm and rural families in need of services.More

WV AgrAbility staff had the opportunity to promote awareness of farmers needs at the WV Occupational Therapist Association Conference.More

AgrAbility and program information was shared at Women in Agriculture; an event open to women involved in agriculture in the western counties of West Virginia.More

Funding was secured and assistive technology devices were installed by the Division of Rehabilitation Services for a Christmas tree farmer. An ag cam, additional step and a heated cab were added to his tractor.More

Staff Changes

National AgrAbility Project

Sam Mathew, VR Specialist for the NAP, recently completed his Ph.D. work at Purdue and returned to India. Sam will be missed by the NAP team and by many others in AgrAbility. Prior to leaving, Sam recorded several web-based training modules on VR-related topics, and the NAP plans to have those available soon.


Deen Swart has resigned from the Minnesota AgrAbility Project case manager position effective Oct. 9. Deen she has accepted a new position to return to youth focused services. The MN AgrAbility team and the MN farmers thank Deen for the service provided and will miss her.

Brent Larson joined Minnesota AgrAbility on Oct. 19. Brent runs a small family farm in Central MN. Brent has been providing vocational services to rural MN for over 20 years and has well developed relationships with Vocational Rehabilitation Services throughout MN. Brent is the owner operator of his family farming business and Larson Vocational Services and he brings a unique business prospective to MAP.

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Problems? Contact Clifford Racz, National AgrAbility Project,