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April 2013


Van Ayers, Stoddard County MU Extension Center, assembled a team of Extension regional specialists to showcase the Missouri AgrAbility Program and Prevention of Secondary Injury interactive displays and disseminate programmatic information at the Cousin Carl Farm Show on March 8 and 9 at Arena Park. Fairgoers enjoyed round table discussions featuring Max Armstrong "The Voice of American Agriculture"!

On March 9, the Brain Injury Association of Missouri hosted a Survivor and Family Southwest Region Seminar to answer questions as survivors and their families transition to life with brain injury at the Mercy Medical Center, Catherine MuAuley Conference Center, in Springfield, Missouri. Willard Downs, MU Extension AgrAbility Project, was part of a panel of professionals (VR, VR VA, and Service Provider Job Coach/VR Counselors) to discuss eligibility and how to access employment and community opportunities. After lunch, each professional provided personal consultations with potential clients to begin the AgrAbility process of appropriate services. The survivor and family seminars are designed to provide practical suggestions and how-to information for survivors and family members living with brain injury.

Diana Baldwin, occupational therapist and MU AgrAbility staff member, presented an AgrAbility "Agriculture and Wellness" program followed by a hands-on demonstration of ergonomic garden tools at the March 19 and 20 Native Plants and Sprouts and Roots Conference sponsored by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension. The intended target audience included adults 50 or older with little or no experience with vegetable gardening coupled with being involved in the community garden in the spring. Participants received the AgrAbility Gardens For Every Body Handbook.

Jackie Allenbrand reported that on March 7 she attended the MERIL networking event held for Buchanan & Andrew Counties and shared information about AgrAbility programming and PHARM Dog. Allenbrand participated in a meeting at MERIL with Connie Neal, University of MO Extension housing specialist, Paul Bergonzoni, MERIL accessibility coordinator, and Sara Markt, Women in Construction, about a UD workshop for contractors and realtors. Allenbrand also assisted a female farmer with her college communications term paper who had received an AgrAbility Onsite Farmstead Assessment in years past and it inspired her to go back to college and get a degree so she could help others, and received great news from a farmer who signed his final contract for an EQIP grant for a high tunnel on his farm. He plans to grow and sell at the local farmer's market. She assisted another farmer with the paperwork to receive a wheelchair from the MERIL's CAF Committee. CAF stands for: Consumer Assistance Fund and is a great benefit to all of MERIL's service participants who need some extra help with items for their home or personal needs. Allenbrand also participated in a radio spot on March 20 for MERIL with a farmer from the NW Region. This commercial will run the month of April promoting MERIL and AgrAbility services.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch