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December 2009


In November the Rural Missouri magazine did a two-page article on the PHARM Dog program. There have been over 100 calls and e-mails about the program from people who want to volunteer, donate dogs, and farmers wanting to know how to receive a dog to use as another "tool" on their farms. Here is link to the story:  

During fall semester 2009, Brad Marsh, Consultant, to the Missouri AgrAbility Project and Willard Downs mentored two student groups who completed work on AgrAbility projects for their ASM Capstone Projects.  The first student group worked on “Handicap Access to Skid-steer Loader” where they evaluated the feasibility and potential cost of three different prototype lifts for a paraplegic person to gain access to a skid-steer loader. The second student group worked on a “GPS Guided Wheelchair/Scooter” for evaluating to potential of an automated GPS guidance system for a wheelchair or scooter (automatic driving wheelchair on predetermined routes).

In early November, Karen Funkenbusch and Martha Stiles from the California AgrAbility Project were asked by Amber Wolfe to co-facilitate the “Arthritis Community of Interest” group on the “Cultural Impacts” of AgrAbility working with Hispanic/ Latino farm workers. This topic was well received with a lot questions and open discussion occurring during the hour-long teleconference.

Jackie Allenbrand did an AgrAbility/PHARM Dog presentation to the Gentry County Visually Impaired Support Group.

Karen Funkenbusch and Trisa Nickoley, ACE certified, graduate research assistant with the Missouri AgrAbility Project, attended the 17th Annual Small Farm Trade Show & Conference held at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Columbia, Missouri to learn more about how best to assist lifestyle farmers living and working in rural Missouri. Karen Funkenbusch displayed, disseminated, and discussed the Missouri AgrAbility Project during the conference. About fifty small farm operators and lifestyle farmers picked up programmatic literature as well as learned about the services provided by the Missouri AgrAbility Project. Karen and Trisa served as moderators during the “Farmers Forum” presentations held every 30 to 60 minutes over the three days of the show. Seventy-two AgrAbility programmatic packets of information were disseminated to conference attendees during the “Farmers Forum” presentations with questions facilitated at the exhibit area. 

Trisa Nickoley, staffed an exhibit for the National AgrAbility Project at the 19th Annual Midwest Stream Forum, held at the Isla Grand Beach Resort Hotel in South Padre Island, Texas. The Forum attracted more than 300 administrators, clinicians, social service providers, outreach workers, and staff from migrant and community health centers, advocacy organizations, and a variety of state and local health departments that serve Hispanic and Latino farm workers in the Midwestern United States. Hosted annually by the National Center for Farm worker Health (NCFH), and sponsored by the Human Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this Forum offered a variety of migrant-specific, health-oriented educational seminars for those involved in the migrant health community. The Exhibitor area where the National AgrAbility Project displayed was an integral part of the conference and provided a valuable opportunity for the National AgrAbility Project to disseminate resource information.

For the Missouri AgrAbility Project, Trisa Nickoley served as a moderator during the Midwest Stream Farm worker Health Forum, where opportunities for continuing education were provided in a variety of disciplines with migrant health peers to learn about best practices and model programs along with discovering new resources to enhance service delivery. The health forum provided quality, migrant farm worker specific, professional development experiences for professionals of all disciplines within migrant health in a multi-tracked program featuring sessions on clinical topics, migrant health education research, model programs, outreach and lay health, and leadership development.

Trisa moderated several, three-hour intensive sessions with the first “HOT TOPIC” on “El Terror Invisible – Preventing Exposure to Agricultural Chemicals for Promotores” where sixty promotores were in attendance at this intensive forum session. The second intensive session on “Family Emergency Preparedness Training: What Can You Do To Prepare You and Your Family Before A Disaster Strikes” also generated a lot of interest with over fifty promotores attending. Lastly, the “Hispanics and Epilepsy: Exploring Behavior and Implementing Solutions” was also well attended with fifty-five promotores attending .

The Executive Producer of Ag Lifestyles from RFD TV contacted Jackie Allenbrand about doing a 1/2 hour segment on the AgrAbility PHARM Dog program to discuss how a dog can help a farmer with a disability, disease, or disorder on the farm.

Russell Ramsey, “Volunteer” farmer working with the Missouri AgrAbility Project in the southeast region of the state continues to disseminate AgrAbility resource materials to Farm Service Agencies. Russell also continues to visit with farmers and ranchers with disabilities to discuss what services and assistance the AgrAbility project can provide to them.

Karen Funkenbusch went to the St. Patrick’s Center to discuss ways in which the AgrAbility Program could provide direct services and assistance to dually diagnosed returning veterans. The St. Patrick Center provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to returning veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Individuals achieve permanent, positive changes in their lives through affordable housing, sound mental health, employment, and financial stability. Karen worked side-by-side with participants so she could provide a more in-depth hands-on demonstration. Her presentation of  Gardens For Every Body ergonomic, adapted, and enabling gardening tools assisted fifteen consumers who are working in a greenhouse to grow vegetables and Christmas plants that will sold and marketed at the Farmer’s Markets throughout Missouri and Illinois.

In December, Jackie Allenbrand will meet with Boehringer Ingelheim for support for the PHARM Dog project by supplying vet medications to all farmers that receive a dog placement on their farm.   

Submitted by:Karen Funkenbusch