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March 2014

West Virginia

West Virginia AgrAbility staff will be visiting several farms this month to help farmers with disabilities. A Hampshire County farmer needs help with assessment for an aftermarket cab with climate control. In early March, WV AgrAbility staff will be visiting a Clay County farm for the first time. At this first meeting, the entire farm will be assessed for possible assistive technology use.

February 18, 2014 was the Disability Day at the Legislature in Charleston, West Virginia. WV AgrAbility staff attended the event. Citizens with developmental disabilities, families, providers, and advocates met with legislators about critical disability issues. These issues included the community's infrastructure, capacity, home / community-based services / supports, self-advocacy, education, employment, and human / civil rights. Self-advocacy refers to a person's ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his/her own interests, needs, and rights.

The 2014 Small Farm Conference was February 27-March 1 at the Waterfront Place Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown, WV. This gathering of stakeholders in the future of local food and sustainable farming offers many types of trainings, production information and updates, and the opportunity to network and gather new ideas.

In its tenth year, the conference has grown to include three pre-conference workshops on Wednesday. The conference officially began on Thursday with both short-form and in-depth workshops. Thursday evening featured the Winter Blues Farmer's Market and Local Food Dine-Around. Last year, this popular event--attended by more than 4500 local food enthusiasts--featured 50 farmer vendors and 20 chefs and restaurants from across West Virginia.

Friday and Saturday schedules featured almost one hundred 50-minute workshops on a wide variety of topics that are designed to address the nearly endless opportunities and their associated challenges that farmers face.

WVU and WVU Extension Service Day at the Legislature took place on Tuesday, March 4, at the State Capitol in Charleston. More than 500 West Virginia 4-Hers, Master Gardeners, Community Educational Outreach Service members, and Extension volunteers from across the state attended the event.

In addition, nearly 100 youth from across the state observed the legislative process as part of their curriculum in a three-day WVU Extension 4-H Civic Engagement Forum, held in conjunction with the event.

Steve Stark, historical illustrator, shared his knowledge through live art to capture the rich heritage of land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension Service.

A West Virginia farmer in Monongalia County has contacted WV AgrAbility regarding his left-sided hemi-paresis. WVAgrAbility staff are working with the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services in order to find assistance for a modified tractor with right-handed controls, mobility device, and wood loader for a wood stove.

Submitted by Amanda Fulk