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March 2013


This month the KY AgrAbility was at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. The 4-day show exhibits the most up-to-date farm equipment from the small gardening tractors to the enormous harvesters and sprayers. The attendance of 312,206 was the second highest in the show's history. Partners from the National AgrAbility Project were also available to explain the project goals.

The 10th Annual Summer Institute in Assistive Technology workshop will be held at the Kentucky State Research and Demonstration Farm in Frankfort on July 10-11. The Workshop returns to the farm for the second year after outgrowing the facility on the University of Kentucky campus. The conference attendance last year was 160 and included OT and PT students, vocational rehabilitation technicians, and consumers. The hit of last year's meeting was the assistive technology session geared toward recreation. While still in the planning stage, Kentucky AgrAbility anticipates a large crowd again this year. Various wheelchairs and games were set on the patio for the attendees to use. Cindy Jacolbelli from Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital will be back to demonstrate more recreational equipment this year. Also this year will be a session by Amber Wolfe, AgrAbility project coordinator for the Indiana Arthritis Foundation, and the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, BIAK, along with KY AgrAbility's John Hancock will talk about gardening and veterans. For more information go online to

The Lego League asked KY AgrAbility to help find a senior farmer to help in their mission for a "Senior Solutions" team project. They propose to help Mr. Clay, an 80 year-old farmer in Frankfort, KY, who has arthritis. He is no longer able to get on his 1948 Farmall 140 tractor. His problem did not have a solution until a First LEGO League (FLL) team from Anderson County contacted the KY AgrAbility program last fall. FLL is an international engineering and robotics competition for 9-14 year-olds, which has a different theme each year. Team members research a problem within the theme and devise an innovative solution. The theme in 2012 was "Senior Solutions." Each team needed a senior citizen partner who had a problem the team could tackle. Team FIRST, consisting of Eric Adams, Luke Edwards, Alaina Gnadinger, Nick Gnadinger, Brandon Gowan, Aleah Kees, Rio Velasco, and Zach Wentz, visited the Kentucky State University Research Farm several times to talk with Mr. Clay about the tractor. The team brought along a physical therapist from CareTenders, Doug Osborne, an environmental engineer at Toyota, Tony Gnadinger, and a senior production technician at Link-Belt, Andrew Tegtmeier. By researching and investigating all aspects, from the mechanics of the tractor to the physical capabilities of Mr. Clay, Team FIRST designed a set of steps with handrails leading up over the front of the back tire, a seat that slides over the back tire, and possibly a telescoping steering wheel. Combined, these additions to the tractor will allow Mr. Clay easy access so he can get back to farming. The solution is in the final design process and Team FIRST is working on getting permission to have it built and installed in time for spring.

March 13 is the Ag Legacy Field Day High Tunnel Workday and Fish Fry sponsored by KY AgrAbility, Grow Appalachia, Growing Warriors, and Agriculture Legacy Initiative. It will be held at 10494 Battlefield Highway, Berea, KY from 12-3 p.m. This workday will be hands-on building a high tunnel. Janet Meyers of Berea College will be overseeing the project.

A new project with the KY State Department of Agriculture is Homegrown by Heroes, part of the Kentucky Proud Project and the Kentucky Proud Jobs for Vets initiative, will help military farmers and their families pursue careers in agriculture. Many of these veterans can benefit from the resources available through KY AgrAbility as well as the support of other community and state organizations. Staff members were happy to be included in this project.

Submitted by Linda Bokros