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March 2010


Susan Tharp, Research Associate from the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSESA) collaborated with Willard Downs and Karen Funkenbusch to finalize an AgrAbility Program Evaluation. AgrAbility increase the likelihood that individuals with disabilities and their families engaged in production agriculture become more successful. The AgrAbility focus is consistent with OSEDA’s mission of partnering in the analysis of data in ways that contribute to improvements in the economic and social well-being of people and communities. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the effectiveness of the AgrAbility Program in Missouri. Three key outcomes have been identified: expanded service capacity through educational programs; expanded service capacity through networking opportunities; and expanded service capacity through direct and individualized assistance. A full report is available at

Don Shuster, John Tharp, Kristi Perry, Trisa Nickoley, and Karen Funkenbusch from the Missouri AgrAbility Project exhibited new interactive hands-on agricultural health and disability displays at the 2010 Western Farm Show. The Health and Safety Round Up, sponsored by the Missouri Farm Bureau, provided an excellent outreach opportunity for the AgrAbility Program to have increased visibility and distribute programmatic information and resource materials to farmers and ranchers from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Diane Olson, Director of Promotion and Education Programs with the Missouri Farm Bureau stated, “the new ‘Farmers with Arthritis,’ ’Gardens For Every Body,’ ’Ergonomics, Arthritis, AgrAbility and You‘ health and disability displays were a huge success at this year’s Western Farm Show.

Russell Ramsey, Volunteer and Farmer Liason, assisted the neighboring state-level AgrAbility Project to exhibit the AgrAbility Project at the Southern Cotton Ginners Association Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, in Memphis, TN. This  annual event is coordinated by the Mississippi AgrAbility Project with involvement from TN and MO AgrAbility Projects. This year there were over 400 exhibits on displays.  Russell also continues to disseminate AgrAbility information and resource materials to local agencies in Southeast Missouri and spends time visiting his local farmers and ranchers to discuss services provided by the Missouri AgrAbility Project, University of Missouri Extension, Farm Service Agency, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Submitted by: Karen Funkenbusch