AgrAbility eNote banner
October 2013

West Virginia

A rural Jackson County, West Virginia native reached out for help from West Virginia AgrAbility in September for assistance in hunting. The disabled veteran is completely paralyzed from the waist down, and only has gross motor movement and arm mobility. WV AgrAbility adapted his wheelchair by anchoring a rifle mount with modified handgrips. This not only gave the Jackson County native the ability to stay active, but also the capability to hunt in a safer manner.

On October 10, 2013 farm safety will be the main topic showcased at Mercer County Elementary School. Experts from WV AgrAbility will highlight disability awareness and ATV safety. Over 800 elementary students will learn about the effects of injuries on the human body. Fifty to sixty different types of assistive technology equipment will be displayed along with a remote controlled lawn mower. Groups of fifteen to twenty students will be engaged in activities regarding the differences of having a learning, mobility, or developmental disability. These activities will include examples of skills for individuals with physical limitations, including how to put on shoes and socks.

AgrAbility staff presented to the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff in September and had the opportunity to hear information on AgrAbility's purpose and the breakdown of statistics from a national standpoint on agricultural incidents. Assistive technologies including a bade wagon, chainsaw caddie, backpack equalizer, and truck lifts for wheelchair use were at the forefront of the visit. The event was held at the NRCS state office in Morgantown, West Virginia.

WV AgrAbility staff attended the People First of West Virginia Self Advocacy Conference September 4-6. At this three-day conference, 210 were privy to instruction on computer access and accessible gardening. Inetta Fluharty demonstrated planting and basic gardening skills during this event. Radial ergonomic gardening tools and trowels with pistol grips were used to manipulate tomato plants in a no-till lasagna garden as a window greenhouse for the cooling fall season. Computer voice and screen readers were made available to the legally blind for easier online viewing. Lap and mouse pads were combined with voice recognition when differentiating between plants and weeds. These topics were for individuals with intellectual or developmental disorders to help instruct, train, and assist to achieve the highest level of independence and self-sufficiency possible in their lives.

West Virginia AgrAbility staff provided information to a Nicholas County farmer about government programs that help new and existing agricultural businesses start, expand, obtain financing, and comply with laws and regulations. Staff also explained how FSA (Farm Service Agency) loan officers can also help farmers with their loan application. Guaranteed loan, direct loan, and land contract guarantee programs are three different types of loans available to the farmer. PaperPort, a document management software program, was downloaded to a Nicholas County farmer's computer to digitally collect farm records and receipts for taxes using a screen reader and magnifier for help in easing collection issues.

Submitted by Amanda Fulk