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March 2013


Certified Safe Farm training was conducted February 6-8 by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, with instructors Dr. Risto Rautiainen and LaMar Grafft. Sharry Nielsen attended the sessions to hone skills in assessing injury and secondary injury prevention around farms, machinery, buildings, and equipment.

Over 100 participants stopped at the NE AgrAbility booth at the Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo. Rod Peterson shared tasks with the NE Department of Agriculture and distributed marketing information.

"Kids Get Arthritis, Too," a prevention lesson for youth, was presented at Nebraska's Healthy Farms Conference Kids Sessions. Seventeen youth and three adults took part in the session, taught by Sharry Nielsen, to learn more about safe lifting, ergonomic tools and devices, and preventing joint stress, as well as using stretching as a preventive measure for MSD. A Nebraska co-worker, Mark Hinze, taught a session on tractor safety, "Be Safe, Be Smart."

The NE AgrAbility Advisory Committee met for its annual gathering despite a pending blizzard. Clients, vendors, collaborators, and staff discussed trends in agriculture, farm injury, and working with farmers/ranchers with disabilities. Del Ficke led the meeting and discussion, ending with Rod Peterson giving a brief presentation on methods for assessing return-to-work potential for clients.

Nebraska's Women in Ag Conference was held in February with NE AgrAbility staffing a booth on Arthritis and Agriculture. Although registrations were cut by over half due to weather, nearly 200 women and spouses took part in the two-day event. Sharry Nielsen staffed the booth and distributed materials on "Stretching for Prevention" and managing arthritis.

NE AgrAbility staff met with the newly appointed Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation Department director, Judy Vohland, following the retirement of long-time Program Director Dennis King. The group discussed the NE AgrAbility program's possible procedural efficiencies, as well as a potential VR staff orientation.

Submitted by Sharry Nielsen