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November 2010


Trisa Nickoley, Karen Funkenbusch, Willard Downs, and Susan Tharp, University of Missouri Extension, developed a Rural Lifestyle Farmer Disability Survey in collaboration with the AgrAbility Program and Country Living Association. Results from the online survey will be used to better understand the chronic disease and disability needs of lifestyle farmers combined with developing appropriate resource materials and educational programs to address their specific rural agricultural needs.

Brandon Doosing, Russell Ramsey, Lee Howerton, Kevin Brown, and Don Funkenbusch are “volunteering” their disability expertise by participating in MU student class projects (Journalism, Nursing, and Occupational Therapy). For the fall 2010 academic semester, AgrAbility farmers and ranchers agreed to partner with MU class projects to discuss challenges and barriers with health care, quality of life, insurance, assistive technology, lack of knowledgeable doctors or health care providers, transportation, mental health, and accessibility issues they experience as farmers with disabilities living in rural Missouri. This effort will simultaneously inform and teach future journalists, rural nurses, and occupational therapists about ways in which they can help change the future for farmers and ranchers with disabilities. AgrAbility  farmers and ranchers in Missouri are participating as part of the expert team that guides concepts to completion for student driven projects. Funding for MU class projects is provided by academic units.

Don Schuster and Willard Downs, University of Missouri Extension, met with Debi Kelly, coordinator of the Missouri SARE program, to learn more about the “North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grants”. Given the common goals of helping farmers and ranchers remain profitable, Don and Willard are exploring potential opportunities for collaboration and SARE programs and grants which might benefit AgrAbility consumers.

Don Schuster, University of Missouri Extension, updated several AgrAbility assistive technology and equipment displays. The interactive hands-on show-and-tell assistive technology and equipment displays are applicable to farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

Karen Funkenbusch, Willard Downs, Don Schuster, Trisa Nickoley, Sandy Zaring, and Kristi Perry, University of Missouri Extension, are developing AgrAbility products to be distributed throughout Missouri. These educational products include:

For more information contact Karen Funkenbusch about these products at 1.800.995.8503.

 Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch