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January 2014

National AgrAbility Project

Remember to send in your proposals for presentations, unconferencing sessions, or posters by Friday, January 17 for the 2014 National Training Workshop. Please send your proposal to Kylie Hendress.

NTW farmer/rancher travel stipend applications are due by January 31. If you need to download a copy of the application, please visit the NTW website. Contact Kylie Hendress for more information.

Remember to submit your proposals to host the 2015 National Training Workshop. March and April are popular months for conferences, so the hotels seem to book up pretty early. Please send them to Kylie Hendress by March 3.

Submitted by Kylie Hendress

Participants of the Southwestern AgrAbility Regional Workshop.The Southwestern AgrAbility Regional Workshop, coordinated by Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, provided a unique experience. Participants in the Southwestern Regional AgrAbility Event held December 2-4 got to see the winter vegetable capital of the world as anything but a dusty desert. Agriculture is Yuma County's number one industry with an annual gross economic return of $3.2 billion, or more than one-third of Arizona's annual total of $9.2 billion. Plentiful sunshine, rich soil, ample labor, and high-quality irrigation water provide Yuma with the longest growing season in the country. While winter is notable for the emerald and ruby patchwork formed by vast vegetable fields, something is either growing or happening in Yuma county fields even during the hottest months of the year.

Participants in the event enjoyed an initial half-day worksite assessment training conducted by Dr. Field, followed by a day of presentations on topics including vocational rehabilitation, brain injury, assistive technology, veterans in agriculture, migrant health, rural health centers and tractor seating considerations. The final day of the event was spent "in the fields" with a visit to a Medjool date plantation, broccoli and lettuce fields, and a date packaging facility. Because Yuma farms look and operate differently than the average farm, the event gave participants a different perspective on farm operations, farm labor, and issues in production work such as that viewed in the date packaging plant.

Goodwill of the Finger Lakes will continue to host two regional events each year. If you would be interested in hosting an event in your region, please contact JoBeth Rath or Tess McKeel.

Submitted by JoBeth Rath