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March 2012


Many of you already know that Russell Ramsey, a longtime supporter and team member of the Missouri AgrAbility Project, passed away in December. Several have already contacted us wondering if a charity had been identified by the family to receive contributions in his honor. Russell's wife, Wanda, has suggested that Russell's friends from AgrAbility might like to make contributions in his honor to a fund which would support the travel of AgrAbility clients to the Annual National Workshop. Russell and Wanda both felt strongly about the value of the workshop for staff and clients. Funds received in Russell's honor will be used to sponsor the travel of at least one Missouri AgrAbility client per year to the National Workshop. The travel scholarship will be made in Russell's honor, along with a list of those who have contributed (unless they request otherwise).

If you would like to make a contribution in Russell's honor, contact Sandy Zaring at 573-882-2731, toll-free 1-800-995-8503 or by e-mail at

Missouri continues to hold monthly AgrAbility teleconferences with all core team members. These teleconferences serve as an approach of how Missouri is able to keep key partners in the communication loop as well as provide an opportunity for partners to share how they are delivering services that successfully meet the USDA-NIFA AgrAbility priorities: education, network, assistance, and marketing.

This month, Missouri officially launched a statewide AgrAbility programmatic database. The AgrAbility programmatic database will be used by all core staff members to electronically collect, store, and retrieve deliverables that meet the USDA AgrAbility priorities: education, network, assistance, and marketing. The database was developed by the University of Missouri Extension Office of Social Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) with help, guidance, and assistance from Susan Tharp, Willard Downs, Don Schuster, Jackie Allenbrand, and Karen Funkenbusch. In March, all core AgrAbility staff members will receive database training facilitated by Susan Tharp.

The MO CDC Arthritis Program provided an arthritis training workshop via LiveMeeting for Regional Arthritis Centers, Arthritis Foundation, University of Missouri, and community based stakeholders. Several University of Missouri Extension core AgrAbility staff members participated in the four hour training.

Jackie Allenbrand, MERIL, attended several meetings. She participated in the NW Regional Extension meeting with University of Missouri Extension regional specialists. She also had an opportunity to discuss AgrAbility, PHARM Dog, and MERIL services. At another MERIL networking event in Lathrop, MO, 10 different service organizations attended. Each participant shared information about their programs. She also visited with the University of Missouri Clinton County Extension Council to discuss AgrAbility, PHARM Dog, and MERIL services. Lastly, she represented AgrAbility to a MERIL accessibility meeting. The MERIL accessibility workshop committee will invite Therese Willkomm to Missouri to present one of her "Assistive Technology in Minutes" workshops. The MERIL accessibility workshop committee has also informed both the Nebraska and Kansas AgrAbility Programs. Stay tuned for more details.

University of Missouri Extension provided many AgrAbility lectures/presentations during the month of February. They included:

Core AgrAbility staff members exhibited AgrAbility at the Health and Safety Area during the 2012 Western Farm Show. The Missouri display at the Western Farm Show.The Health and Safety Round Up is sponsored by the Missouri Farm Bureau and provides excellent educational, networking, and marketing opportunities for the AgrAbility Program as well as allows staff members to disseminate programmatic materials, PHARM Dog brochures, resource materials, and health, safety, and wellness tip sheets to farmers and ranchers from Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma. This year the Health and Safety Round Up area was alive with many health, safety, and wellness activities and hands on educational learning opportunities. Missouri AgrAbility staff members greet Western Farm Show attendees.Staff were joined by the newest partner from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Columbia campuses School of Pharmacy who attended the Western Farm Show and brought along their PHARM students. The students passed out pamphlets on "The TRxUTH about America's biggest drug problem isn't on the streets, it's in our medicine cabinets" as well as common household "Poison Look A Likes." Also, representatives from the Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and University of Nebraska Medical Center – CS-CASH were on hand to survey part time farmers. MO AgrAbility health, safety, and wellness hands-on exhibits continue to be a favorite among show-goers.

Volunteer master gardeners continue their outreach efforts by presenting the AgrAbility Gardens for Every Body Program small acre program throughout rural agricultural Missouri. Attendees learn how to appropriately select ergonomic and enabling garden tools; techniques to modify their tools; efficient and effective methods to gardening on small acreages; and how the AgrAbility program assists operators with disabilities including those living and working on small acres.

Submitted by Jackie Allenbrand, Jim Brinkmann, Kelly Cochran, Willard Downs, Karen Funkenbusch, Beth Richards, Don Schuster, and Susan Tharp