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October 2010


Recently the Missouri AgrAbility Project, the Missouri Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Missouri Rehab Services for the Blind have jointly developed and signed a Memorandum of Agreement which defines and outlines a cooperative approach for providing services to Missouri’s farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. This agreement demonstrates Missouri’s progress towards an important objective of the USDA NIFA funded AgrAbility program:  development of permanent community and state level infrastructure which can help meet the needs of those with disability in rural areas.

This month, the CDC Regional Arthritis Centers kicked off their state-wide arthritis media campaign. The CDC Missouri Arthritis Program is conducting this state-wide radio campaign through Learfield Communications, currently running a state-wide ad in the Rural Missourian, September issue to reach the intended AgrAbility audience of farmers and ranchers with arthritis. CDC Regional Arthritis Centers are also running a similar ad on the Metro Link in St. Louis and buses in Branson areas.

On September 17, Don Schuster participated in the fall pre-harvest meeting at Southwest Center in Mount Vernon, MO. The Ag Education Day was a success even with the downpour. Despite the rain, 1,600 FFA students from 40 schools were able to further their interest in agriculture. Don shared how the AgrAbility assists Missouri farmers and ranchers with disabilities and demonstrated the AgrAbility lift. After the Ag Education Day was over Don stated that there is much value in visiting with high school kids in a setting like this. This is an opportunity for AgrAbility to plant a seed of remembrance in their mind and hopefully this contact will lead to a referral later down the road.

Children and their parents had a chance to learn about health concerns, good eating habits, and exercise at the Healthy Families Fun Fair. Thirty-five learning stations with more than 40 health, fitness, and nutrition experts were available to answer questions, do a variety of tests, and offer fun activities. There were also free language screening and hearing tests available.

Joyce Brewer, volunteer master gardener, presented an AgrAbility Gardens for Every Body Program to the general public in Perryville, Missouri. Fourteen participants learned how to appropriately select ergonomic and enabling garden tools, techniques to modify tools, efficient and effective methods to gardening on small acreage, and how AgrAbility can assist operators with disabilities. Joyce reported participants enjoyed the program and looks forward to more presentations like this in the future.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch