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July 2010


Jackie Allenbrand continues to disseminate AgrAbility information, AgrAbility/PHARM Dog brochures, and MERIL resource materials throughout the Northwest region. To date she has provided 35 AgrAbility/PHARM Dog presentations combined with showcasing the program at numerous farm shows and field days in the St. Joseph area.  For example, Jackie presented an AgrAbility/PHARM Dog program to the American Stock Dog Association in Warrensburg, MO and is excited to report the program reaped the benefit of a $500.00 donation.  

Don Schuster is busy traveling the state providing oversight and case management for services and assistance to farmers, ranchers, lifestyle farmers, and their families with disabilities. He is proactively assisting farmers and ranchers seek out assistive technologies and adapted devices to help them remain gainfully employed in agriculture.  Potential funding sources included Rehab Services for the Blind, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Centers for Independent Living, and the Veterans’ Administration.

Russell and Wanda Ramsey, Volunteer and Farmer Liaison continue to distribute AgrAbility information and resource materials to social services agencies and disability organizations throughout the Southeast region.  They also showcase the AgrAbility program at numerous farm shows and field days as well as visit farmers and ranchers to discuss AgrAbility services and provide on-the-farm assessments.

Willard Downs organized an AgrAbility meeting for Missouri team members from Extension, CIL, and the Volunteer and Farmer Liaison.  The team spent a day and half discussing Year 2 goals and objectives.  The AgrAbility team also outlined several approaches and best practice methods  to implement.  . Staff members in attendance included Jackie Allenbrand, Karen Funkenbusch, Trisa Nickoley, Kristi Perry, Russell Ramsey, Don Schuster, and Sandy Zaring. 

Willard Downs and Karen Funkenbusch provided AgrAbility information and programmatic materials to ten farm outreach workers for the Innovative Small Farm Outreach Program at Lincoln University.  The Small Farm Outreach Workers are extension employees who work across the state to provide one-on-one services to socially disadvantaged farmers. Farm outreach workers will also assist AgrAbility team members to provide assistance and services to small farmers, ranchers, and lifestyle farmers.

Karen Funkenbusch co-presented at the 7th Annual Summer Institute in Assistive Technology and Transition Workshop on the University of Kentucky Campus, Lexington, Kentucky.  Beth Hunter from Cardinal Ritter Hospital and Karen Funkenbusch co-presented a program on aging and technology.  Beth and Karen discussed issues related to aging and the onset of age-related disabilities combined with exploring some of the special aspects related to working with an aging population, functional changes related to agriculture, and the appropriate use of assistive technology. The workshop was sponsored by the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Kentucky Assistive Technology Loan Corporation, Kentucky AgrAbility, and the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky.    

Twenty five farmers, ranchers, and lifestyle farmers as well as social organizations and services providers participated in an AgrAbility Workshop co-hosted by the Missouri AgrAbility Project and ACCESS II, local independent living center in Gallatin.  Interactive hands-on presentations were provided by AgrAbility, AgrAbility/PHARM Dog, Rehab Services from the Blind, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Center for Independent Living.  Workshop attendees enjoyed several highlights throughout the day.  The first highlight was a hands-on demonstration of assistive technologies and adapted devices used by farmers, ranchers, and lifestyle farmers presented by Don Schuster. Followed Bob Kelly, extension specialist demonstrating a PTO entanglement with Dennis Schmitz, farmer with disability talking about his injuries sustained during his PTO farming accident, services provided by AgrAbility, and assistive technologies and adapted devices purchased by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The next exciting highlight of the day included an action packed AgrAbility/PHAM Dog demonstration by dog trainer Bob Miller with the last highlight including a chuck wagon lunch. 

Karen Funkenbusch presented six, two hour AgrAbility Gardens For Every Body seminars on “How to Use Tools & Techniques for Easier Gardening” for women from faith-based organizations. Using an interactive, hands-on approach, Missouri farm wives explored the benefit of using ergonomic, enabling, and modified tools and discussed tips on how to successfully navigate the Missouri AgrAbility Program, University of Missouri Extension, local-level Centers for Independent Living, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Farm Service Agency.

Submitted by: Karen Funkenbusch