Jackie Allenbrand, AgrAbility outreach specialist, MERIL reported many AgrAbility activities. These include:
- Attended Atchison County MERIL networking event at the Fairfax, MO hospital and participated in rural needs survey discussion. The new Fairfax hospital recently sent out a rural needs survey to residents living in Holt and Atchison counties. As reported, the biggest needs in this rural area are calls for mental health services and support. There were 30 in attendance.
- Facilitated an informational discussion about AgrAbility services with a retired USDA employee.
- Collaborated with MERIL Assistive Technology Coordinator and MO Assistive Tech to display household assistive devices for the MERIL booth on the Missouri Western campus in St. Joseph, MO.
- Carla Rickabaugh, MERIL Assistive Technology coordinator, Connie Neal, University of Missouri Extension housing specialist, and Jackie Allenbrand, are planning a spring 2013 workshop for contractors working in the NW Region of Missouri. The focus of the workshop will be on Universal Design and getting the word out to contractors in rural areas about the concept. This workshop will also introduce contractors to what elements and ideas are available for them to use in making homes more accessible.
- Attended St. Joseph, MO Chamber of Commerce Ag Division meeting. The topic of discussion was marketing and where the farming community goes for their news and information. Representatives from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting discussed their research and findings.
- Attended monthly MERIL leadership meetings.
- Attended service coordinator meetings on Thursdays during the month. Service coordinators share what activities they are working on for the month and for the future.
- Submitted data for the MERIL annual report. This report will be shared with the board, staff, and other businesses that work cooperatively with MERIL.
MU Extension AgrAbility on-campus and regional coordinators facilitated AgrAbility USDA-NIFA education, network, assistance, and marketing activities. These efforts include:
- Attending the University of Missouri Extension Fall Program Conference, Positioning for the Future to receive discipline specific and professional development training.
- Presenting an "Ergonomics for Women" program at the University of Missouri Women's Health Center, a nonprofit disability organization in Columbia, Missouri. Twenty-two farmwives learned about AgrAbility services, staff disseminated AgrAbility informational brochures, and Lowes Home Improvement Center from Columbia, MO generously provided free small ergonomic hand tools and ergonomic gloves to all attendees.
- Presenting an Asthma/Allergy program at the University of Missouri Health Care, a nonprofit disability organization in Fulton, Missouri. Ten farmers attended a one hour session about farming with asthma or allergies, mask protection, and services and assistance provided by the Missouri AgrAbility Project.
- Attending the Veterans and Agriculture: Opportunities, Entrepreneurship, and Enrichment conference at Beck Agricultural Center, Purdue University.
- Attending and presenting at the 2012 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety & Health Conference, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
- Presenting an adapted rural recreation program to 130 adapted recreation students at the University of Missouri. Adapted recreation students watched the AgrAbility video followed by an assistive technologies demonstration on adapted recreation equipment.
- Participating in an Arthritis Foundation Advocacy webinar workshop facilitated by Michele Guadalupe, email@example.com.
AgrAbility staff members with MU Extension, University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics, School of Health Professions, and two statewide Missouri nonprofit disability organizations attended all of the sessions associated with the first virtual National Training Workshop. Missouri staff members gained a better understanding of AgrAbility, the partnership with Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, NAP evaluation, eXtension, and assistive technologies for farmers and ranchers with disabilities.
The University of Missouri Extension has partnered with the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University and Rehab Services for the Blind to provide a senior level animal science and horticulture student an internship with the Missouri AgrAbility Project. The AgrAbility intern was raised on a Missouri ranch, has low vision, and a strong background in animal science, horticulture, and ergonomics. The AgrAbility intern will assist with implementing AgrAbility USDA-NIFA education, network, assistance, and marketing activities.
Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch