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October 2013

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility presented at the Wayne County Master Gardener's September meeting and toured their accessible garden. The garden is a regional effort to help showcase accessible gardening techniques. It was on display during the regional agricultural fair and AgrAbility information was available at the booth. Thanks to the Wayne County CES for helping NC AgrAbility get the word out and for a job well done!

NC AgrAbility was featured as part of the NC Agromedicine Institute booth at the 2013 Mountain State fair. Over 175,000 people attended the fair before the last day. It was a great opportunity to target farmers in the far western geographic area of North Carolina who farm very differently from the far eastern area. The Institute's Director, Robin Tutor-Marcom, was featured on the local radio station to talk about all the Institute's projects as well as the newly signed proclamation from NC Governor Pat McCrory designating NC Farm Safety week to coincide with National Farm Safety week. NC Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler spoke about the proclamation and the role the Institute and NC AgrAbility play in making this milestone step for agriculture in NC.

New AgrAbility student projects are well underway involving NC State University Biological & Agricultural Engineering students, the East Carolina Occupational Therapy Department, and Western Carolina University's Physical and Occupational Therapy programs. Students will be working over the next two years on pressure mapping and corresponding design for operator stations in agricultural equipment.

Additionally, a team has been developed to produce the NC AgrAbility Work Smarter, Not Harder initiative. NC AgrAbility is teaming up with ECU and WCU along with the National Arthritis Foundation-Mid Atlantic Region to develop educational materials to assist farmers and gardeners with chronic pain conditions such as arthritis as well as preventing secondary injuries related to musculoskeletal health and ergonomics.

NC AgrAbility wrapped up September with an inspirational day at the 2013 Back in the Woods Again annual deer hunt and fellowship weekend in Bear Creek, NC. The event is to encourage and enable hunters with disabilities to experience hunting either for the first time or in more accessible means than they have previously had. Project Coordinator Michele Proctor visited with attendees and discussed their farms as well as their hunting ambitions and shared information about assistive technology for individuals farming with disabilities.

Submitted by Michele Proctor