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May 2013

National AgrAbility Project News

AgrAbility All-Staff Call/Web Meeting - Tuesday, May 21 at 3:00 EDT via 866-803-2444 and Featured topics will include external funding for AT and RESNA ATP certification.

Upcoming AgrAbility webinars:

Extranet additions: visit the Marketing link at to listen to or download recorded AgrAbility radio PSAs.

The National AgrAbility Advisory Team met in Indianapolis on May 7-8. more

Goodwill of the Finger Lakes team member JoBeth Rath will host an AgrAbility booth at the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) 2-1-1 conference June 2-5 in Portland, Oregon. Learn how your SRAP can be represented. more

Amber Wolfe, Arthritis Foundation, presented two 6-hour community workshops on arthritis and agriculture in Starke and Hilliard, FL on April 2 and 3. more

Amber Wolfe presented information on working with farmers with arthritis to the Georgia AgrAbility staff, Glen Rains, Andy Carter, and Cathy Walters, at the UGA-Tifton Campus on April 4. more

Click here for the schedule of upcoming Community of Interest and Standing Committee call information.

Toolbox Spotlight
In this month's spotlight, learn about a long-range WiFi video system for monitoring livestock, outbuildings, etc., from up to six miles away. more

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility conducted three "Get Moving: Arthritis Prevention & Pain Management Exercise Program" classes and two "Taking the Reins and Keep Moving" combination workshops. more

CalAgrAbility presented to the undergraduate volunteers of Clinca Tepati at UC Davis at their meeting. more

Staff also attended the annual health and safety fair sponsored by the Sacramento County Farm Bureau. more

Once again, CalAgrAbility was able to sign up consumers for the One Sight Eyeglasses program through LensCrafters Optical. more

CalAgrAbility continues to use twitter as a networking method. We have 116 followers. Follow us at


Georgia AgrAbility hosted Rapid Fabrication workshops in Athens, Macon, and Atlanta at the Shepherd Center for occupational and physical therapists. more

AgrAbility in Georgia staff train VR counselors.A new two day workshop was held in Tifton to train Vocational Rehabilitation counselorsabout farm culture and what it means to farmers to stay in the occupation they love and how farming can be an opportunity for a new career for someone with a disability. more


Amber Wolfe presented a two-hour arthritis and gardening session to the Indiana Garden Club, Inc. at their annual convention in Richmond, IN on April 16. more

Amber Wolfe continues to serve on the Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference planning committee and is the facilities chair. more

Amber Wolfe also continues to serve on the Indianapolis Mayor's Advisory Council on Disabilities as the events co-chair and is currently planning the Indianapolis Access and Inclusion Awards ceremony for July 26.

Linda Tarr did presentations for three agriculture classes at Eastern Greene High School and gave a presentation at their annual banquet on May 7.


Maine AgrAbility organized and participated in a report writing workshop to develop a new template for the agricultural assessment report. more

Maine had a great time at the NTW, bringing three AgrAbility staff, the VR liaison, and one Maine farmer. more

Maine AgrAbility is currently working with Michel O'Gorman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition along with Maine agricultural and veteran resources to establish a state Farmer Veteran Coalition in Maine.AgrAbility in Georgia staff train VR counselors.

Therese Willkomm conducted an "Assistive Technology and Farming with a Disability" workshop in Augusta, ME. more


The Minnesota AgrAbility Project staff would like to thank everyone that helped make the 2013 National Training Workshop held in Minneapolis, Minnesota a memorable experience for conference attendees. more

Inventors from across the Midwest traveled to Redwood Falls, Minnesota to attend the 56th Annual Minnesota Inventors' Congress held April 19-20, 2013. more


The Missouri FFA Executive Secretary on behalf of the MO AgrAbility Project placed materials in all FFA students (approximately 8,000) state convention packets.

Using electronic delivery formats the MO AgrAbility Gardens for Every Body Program assisted 22 Junior Girl Scouts from Denver, Colorado earn their gardening badge.

Jordan Collins, University of Missouri-Columbia Bioengineering student displayed the AgrAbility, Ergonomic, & Agriculture tools display and disseminated AgrAbility resource materials at the University Hospital & Clinics Occupational and Industrial Work Harding Program.

Karen Funkenbusch facilitated a brown bag lunch for five farm/ranch wives who are recent breast cancer survivors. more

On April 6, the Brain Injury Association of Missouri and MO AgrAbility co-hosted their second Survivor and Family seminar. more

Bob Schultheis presented AgrAbility and Agricultural Assistive Technology at the Vocational Rehabilitation Spring supervisor meeting. more

Missouri secured a fee-for-service agreement with Vocational Rehabilitation and is also finalizing a fee-for-service agreement with Rehab Service for the Blind. more

Jackie Allenbrand, PHARM Dog, presented at the NTW and the Power Up Conference in Columbia, MO. more

North Carolina

A team designed a water delivery system for a client with disabilities in Western NC.April 25, 2013, Mary Hildebrand, OTD, OTR/L presented on the topic of the role of OT with aging farmers in a short course at the American Occupational Therapy Association 93rd Annual Conference and Expo in San Diego, CA. more

Michele Proctor, project coordinator, taught the AgrAbility chapter of the Agricultural Medicine Core Course and demonstrated ergonomic tools at the NC Agromedicine Institute on April 4.

NC AgrAbility staff Michele Proctor, Dr. Jimo Ibrahim, and Dr. Mary Hildebrand attended the 2013 NTW in Minneapolis. NC was proud to represent the program in the state display exhibit.

NCSU Biological & Agricultural Engineering teams completed their final AgrAbility-based project design presentations April 26. more


The Nebraska project sponsored a workshop for occupational and physical therapists, "Rehabilitating Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities," in the north central part of the state. more

AgrAbility staff Nancy Frecks, Sharry Nielsen, Del Ficke, and Rod Peterson attended the NTW in Minneapolis with guest OT Dr. Anna Lewandowski. more

4-H Discovery Night provides an opportunity for non-4-H youth to learn about the program, and for those already enrolled in 4-H to see new projects. more


Ohio AgrAbility just concluded an eighth consecutive semester collaborating with the University of Dayton College of Engineering to provide leadership in developing AgrAbility based engineering projects for students enrolled in innovative engineering classes. more

Ohio AgrAbility had the opportunity to present to the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission in April. more


AgrAbility of Utah Program Coordinator Tana Beckstead, did a presentation at Salt Lake Community College in West Jordan, UT, at the end of April for OT/PT students about the AgrAbility project and how AgrAbility can better partner with OTs/PTs for referrals and potential job opportunities within AgrAbility.

Darlene Carlisle, resource facilitator, has been working with Utah Valley University students to modify and design step extensions to fit on a tractor for an AgrAbility of Utah client in the central Utah area. They were very successful and the students and the farmer were excited by the outcome of the project.

Robotic milkerVermont

Vermont AgrAbility’s George Cook and Gail Lapierre assisted with coordinating and teaching portions of the recent Agricultural Medicine Course held in Middlebury. more


Wyoming AgrAbility staff presented Tools for the Enabled Garden at the senior center in Rock Springs on April 5, and the Foods Expo in Lusk on April 12.

Wyoming AgrAbility released its 2013 annual newsletter insert in April, which was distributed in 24 daily/weekly newspapers throughout Wyoming. Articles covered topics including respiratory illnesses, technology, age-related vision loss, and more.

Wyoming AgrAbility had an article published in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup on April 27, 2013. The article, "Keeping Ranchers and Farmers Safe in Later Life," was written by Wyoming AgrAbility Project Director Randy Weigel.

The Living Well with a Disability workshop is scheduled to begin again in Casper on May 6. The workshop completed its third series in Casper on January 10, and Gillette completed their workshop series last July. Facilitator training recently took place in Cheyenne on March 4-5.

Staff Changes


We say goodbye and thank you to Janis Moore. We also welcome Bill Snow back from sunny Florida…just in time for Black Fly season!


AgrAbility of Wisconsin would like to say goodbye to Hannah Gerbitz who is currently serving as our program assistant. Hannah will be taking another internship for the summer at Helena Chemical and then returning to AAW while she finishes her final semester this fall.Abbigail Janisch

Congratulations to Vicki Janisch and her family on their new arrival of Abbigail on March 2. Vicki missed the NTW because of maternity leave and now we are excited to have her back in the office.

Dick Straub has accepted a new role at the University of Wisconsin and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). He will no longer be the department chair for Biological Systems Engineering, as he will be taking on his new role as senior associate dean for CALS June 1. He will maintain the PI role for AgrAbility of Wisconsin and continue to be involved with our projects. See the announcement here.

AgrAbility in the News

Click here for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.

Other News

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Upcoming Events

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Problems? Contact Clifford Racz, National AgrAbility Project,