West Virginia AgrAbility is gratified to receive funding for a new four-year cycle. WV AgrAbility partners include West Virginia University Extension Service - Safety & Health, West Virginia State University (1890 land grant institution), (2) the ARC of the Mid-Ohio Valley (provides advocacy programs and services to children and their families, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities), and (3) the West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS).
WV AgrAbility personnel participated in a disability awareness forum held at Tamarack (near Beckley, WV) on Oct. 23, 2014. Approximately 100 people attended the forum. Carmen Fullmer (WVATS) provided an assistive technology booth featured in the main conference room, and attended seminars on issues including autism and health, sensory awareness, disability interview skills, barriers to employment, suicide prevention, and the WV Vets to Agriculture program.
The event was spearheaded by the Mountain State Centers for Independent Living. Open to all, the forum was an event that provides education to people with disabilities and anyone serving the needs of people with disabilities. The main goal was to raise awareness of how people with disabilities can become employed and receive services that assist them in obtaining and maintaining employment. For more information, use the following link: http://www.register-herald.com/news/article_8062b7cf-2507-503f-be35-dff282c29c16.html
On Oct. 18, 2014, WV AgrAbility personnel participated in a workshop on the topic of "Miniature Horses as Service Animals" at Holly Gray Park in Sutton, WV. The workshop was free and open to the public. It was sponsored by Partnerships in Assistive TecHnologieS, Inc. (PATHS). Carmen Fullmer (WVATS) presented information about WV AgrAbility for attendees at the event. The trainer, Dolores Arste, was selected based on a suggestion from Carmen Fullmer. For additional information, use the following link: http://www.pathswv.com/Horse.html
WV AgrAbility personnel provided an overview of WV AgrAbility (WVA) at the WVU Extension Service's Annual Meeting on Oct. 23, 2014. Brandon Takacs, WV AgrAbility Co-Investigator, spoke about WV AgrAbility during the "Bright Ideas" session that was aimed at increasing awareness and coordination of programming efforts across all of WVU Extension.
In responses to referrals through WV AgrAbility, technical assistance has been provided by WV AgrAbility personnel. Tom Stockdale has responded to questions from a farmer located in Lewisburg, WV to provide preliminary information for the farmer with a follow-up assessment scheduled to be conducted. Following the completion of three farm assessments by Inetta Fluharty in Pendleton, Roane, and Greenbrier Counties, the farmers have applied for funding through DHS for their assistive technology items. The AT includes hearing aids, automatic gates, a two-way radio system, ROPS, a canopy, a suspension tractor seat, a quick hitch, an agcam, an electric wagon, a 10 ft. x 10 ft. greenhouse with roll-back sides, a cistern, a front tine tiller, a utility vehicle, a platform lift for a tractor, a hand brake on a tractor, bump gates, and a squeeze chute. A farmer was referred to a doctor specializing in TBI. Three farmers from the previous WV AgrAbility funding cycle are approaching the time when their equipment can be purchased through DHS. Following the purchase of the equipment (including a respirator, two utility vehicles, drive-through electric gates, a bale wrapper, a bale wagon, an adjustable bed, and a garden scoot), WV AgrAbility personnel will provide training to the farmers concerning appropriate equipment use.
In late November, a meeting is scheduled with WV AgrAbility personnel and various WV disability professionals, including the WV Fairshake Network, to discuss the WV state disability policy agenda for 2015. Plans are underway for WV AgrAbility personnel to meet with the WV Farm Bureau to discuss its legislative priorities for the upcoming year.
Submitted by Janet Della-Guistina