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May 2012


"Rehabilitating Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities" drew 19 occupational and physical therapists to Grand Island, NE, to learn more about farm culture, treatment strategies, and resources available when working with people with disabilities. Carla Wilhite from Casper College, NDSU, in Wyoming was the lead instructor. NE AgrAbility staff Sharry Nielsen, Rod Peterson, Del Ficke; ESN Work Incentive Specialist Kelly Gewecke; and VR Counselor JD Simmons taught segments of the course. The highlight of the class was visiting two AgrAbility clients to see assistive technology in practice on both a livestock operation and crop farm. Seeing home modifications was a bonus at one site.

Following Veteran Farmer workshops earlier this year in collaboration with the Center for Rural Affairs and Farmers Union, plans are proceeding for farm visits this summer. Former AgrAbility clients will be sites for all three visits in Nebraska.

Check out a possible alternative to barbed wire fence staples at This is a barbed wire fastener (either tight or loose) made of aluminum alloy and attached with a self tapping 1-/3/4" screw and a cordless drill with a magnetic screw head. The vendor is aware of the AgrAbility program and will send free samples so you can check it out. Rod Peterson is using some for patch work this summer to see how they work before recommending them to clients but thinks they look good, especially for hardwood hedge posts.

Submitted by Sharry Nielsen