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May 2014

West Virginia

On April 10, 2014, WV AgrAbility staff spoke to approximately 50 Marion County, West Virginia Farm Bureau members about the purpose of AgrAbility and farm safety. During this session, various assistive technologies were demonstrated to farmers with disabilities including solutions such as a bale wagon, airwave helmet, back boom, drive-through gates, and ergonomic tools.

Weston, West Virginia hosted this year's Beef Expo at the Jackson's Mill State 4-H Conference Center. Approximately 350 FFA and 4-Hers presented for the livestock and forage judging competitions. West Virginia AgrAbility staff attended the event with a display for AgrAbility and assistive technology solutions from April 10-12. The WV AgrAbility display includes a farm safety board with 34 hazards to locate and safe tasks for children on the farm. The display for AgrAbility and assistive technology solutions was also shown during the beef sale.

On April 14, West Virginia AgrAbility staff discussed accessible gardening for children with disabilities at the Fairmont, West Virginia Disability Action Center (DAC). Topics included how to plant a container salad garden with lettuce, radish, tomato, cucumbers, and how to make a decoupage rock marker for the garden.

During the month of April, several farmsite assessments and visits were made with West Virginia farmers. AgrAbility staff teamed up with the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services for a Mineral County farmer to discuss the farmer's assistive technology options. A hospital visit with a Barbour County dairy farmer began his relationship with West Virginia AgrAbility just after injury. A Greenbrier County beef farmer was visited in order to begin the assessment process after injury from a car accident.

A presentation was given on April 26 to a group of Braxton County, West Virginia Master Gardeners during the annual Braxton County Life's a Garden--Dig It Day. The presentation was titled Ergonomics: Working Smarter--Not the Way Your Granddaddy Did It. The presentation focused on body mechanics, ergonomics, women farmers, and the specific tools made for various body types and sizes, which lead to how to work smarter.

The Romney Elementary School in Hampshire County, West Virginia had the opportunity to hear AgrAbility staff speak on ergonomic gardening techniques. The elementary students learned how body mechanics and ergonomic tools made their pine tree planting job easier.

Submitted by Amanda Fulk