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December 2014

National AgrAbility Project News

The 2014 Virtual NTW had a combined session attendance of approximately 200. Many thanks to our presenters and participants. Presentations and PowerPoints are archived at

Rochester NTW Updates:

The NAP is starting a community of interest on veterans in agriculture. Click here for a Doodle poll to set the first conference call.

Bill Field and Cindy Chastain participated in the Farmer Veteran Coalition's first National Stakeholder Conference in Des Moines, IA, Nov 14-15. More

Chuck Baldwin at FALCON conference

Chuck Baldwin attended the FALCON (First Americans Land Grant Consortium) conference November 8-10 in Minneapolis, MN. More

Colorado workshopToolbox Spotlight: The most visited solution in The Toolbox Assistive Technology Database last month was the Lend-A-Hand Forearm Assistive Device.

Click here for the schedule of upcoming Community of Interest and Standing Committee call information.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility attended its partner's webinar featuring VR services. More

CalAgrAbility welcomes a new collaborator, Vets for Pets, the NorCal Chapter. More

CalAgrAbility collaborates with LensCrafters OneSight Program. This month three consumers in Chico, CA, received free eye exams and glasses. More

CalAgrAbility staff led workshops on diabetes, focusing on Type 2, for the Northern Valley Indian Health Clinic in Willows and Woodland, CA. More

CalAgrA Staff led an arthritis exercise class at the ACOMI Conference in Salinas, CA. Over 150 rural ag families attended. The conference included workshops on being successful in college as a family, health care and insurance, community safety, and how to manage stress.

UC Davis Extension ANR reporter Alberto Hauffen interviewed CalAg about diabetes in the agricultural community. The PSA was released in Spanish during World Diabetes Day.

CalAgrA continues to Tweet. Follow us at


Colorado workshopColorado AgrAbility project manager with Goodwill Industries Denver, Candy Leathers, and Dr. Norm Dalsted, project director at CSU Extension, have a good start on the 2014-2015 Winter Workshops being conducted across the state. More


Indiana AgrAbility staffed a display at the 2014 Woodland Owner Conference at Turkey Run State Park. The display featured Indiana AgrAbility brochures and information on arthritis in agriculture, back impairments The Tool Box Assistive Technology Database, and the AgrAbility "It's About Hope" video.

The Purdue Cooperative Extension Health and Human Sciences educators conducted their annual training session in West Lafayette, Indiana. More

Indiana AgrAbility collaborator, the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, invited the Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist Steve Swain to conduct an in-service training for their therapy staff. More

Consultant Carl Jenkins attended a cover crop workshop at Orleans, IN, in November.


Kansas AgrAbility has added four new farmer videos to its web site. The videos share the story of one family's journey with AgrAbility. Access the new videos at:


Kentucky AgrAbility staff are finally back in the office after traveling much of the fall, and are ready to stay in the office for a while. More

In mid-November KY AgrAbility attended the National FFA Conference in Louisville, KY. They had a record number of attendees, 64,409. The young people at the conference were eager to learn about AgrAbility and see some of the client videos that showed the assistive technology implemented on our clients' farms.

KY AgrAbility will be meeting with KARRN, KY Rural Rehabilitation Network, for their holiday meeting/luncheon the first of December. More

Also, in the first week of December is the KY Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Louisville at the Galt House. This is always a good gathering at which to meet potential clients and talk to people from all over the state.

January 2015 KY AgrAbility staff will be on the move again; this time to Owensboro for the KY Cattlemen's Conference January 16 and 17. Prior to that is the meeting of the KY Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Lexington. This is followed by the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville in early February.

KY AgrAbility has a few more events scheduled and will also be attending the NTW in Rochester in April. See you there.


Maine AgrAbility was excited to share the news of its successful award from the USDA for funding to continue its AgrAbility program through 2018. More

Project coordinator Lani Carlson spoke with State Senator Tom Saviello on his Talkin' Maine TV show about the AgrAbility program. She shared information specifically about the AgrAbility team within the state, its professional networks, and the projects' goals to assist Maine farmers, loggers, and fisherman.

Maine AgrAbility and Northeastern University studentsAgrAbility staff worked with a team of undergraduate engineering students from Northeastern University who are focusing specifically on improving the quality of life for upper extremity amputee farmers through the innovation of a mechanical solution. More


Michigan State University Extension in partnership with Easter Seals Michigan was recently awarded a USDA AgrAbility grant to expand both the numbers of individuals served and to provide educational outreach for the existing Michigan AgrAbility program previously supported solely by Easter Seals Michigan. More


David Middleton, farm outreach specialist from the southwest region representing Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and Missouri's new AgrAbility partnership, presented AgrAbility at several events in November. More

Nahshon Bishop, small farm specialist representing Lincoln University Cooperative Extension as Missouri's new AgrAbility partner, expressed an interest in attending the spring 2015 National Training Workshop. More

New AgrAbility partner Maureen Cunningham, director, Brain Injury Association of Missouri, and Jon Sabala, veteran services director, Department of Mental Health, participated in the monthly MOBHA Alliance teleconference. More

Karen Funkenbusch and Joseph Brajdich, intern with the Missouri AgrAbility Project, were selected to present their poster titled Missouri AgrAbility Program: Self-employment opportunities in agriculture for farmers and ranchers with disabilities at the Extension Connection: Lunch with us! "Broaden your research Impact with an Extension Connection".

Joseph Brajdich and members of the North Carolina AgrAbility direct services team participated in a conference call with professionals from other states involved in AgrAbility services and working with minority farmers with disabilities to strategize improved outreach and overcome barriers to services in coordination with NC Vocational Rehabilitation. More

Kelly Cochran, PharmD, BCPS, presented "Pharm Safety=Farm Safety: Know Your Medications" to 70 farm women at the Pearls of Production: Women in Agriculture conference on Nov 7, 2014. More

North Carolina

Members of the NC AgrAbility direct services team participated in a conference call with professionals from other states involved in AgrAbility services and/or targeted projects with minority farmers with disabilities to strategize improved outreach and overcome barriers to services in coordination with NC Vocational Rehabilitation. More

Michele Proctor and Dr. Gary Roberson were featured in a video showcasing NC AgrAbility student design projects at the 2014 NCSU Ag & Biotechnology Conference at the NC Biotechnology Center in Durham NC on November 18 & 19, 2014. Watch it here:

NC AgrAbility client Neil Whitfield hosted Dr. Mary Hildebrand and the 2015 class of ECU Masters of Occupational Therapy class for a farm assessment training in Pink Hill, NC. More

NC AgrAbility at Farmers MarketDr. Mary Hildebrand and her team of MSOT students have been visiting NC farmers markets with educational displays and assistive tools to show to farmers as well as recruiting participation in several ongoing NC AgrAbility surveys. More

NC AgrAbility at Beaufort FFA Ag ExpoDespite a stormy start to the day, Michele Proctor, NC AgrAbility project coordinator, participated in the 2014 Beaufort County Ag Expo at Northside High School in Washington, NC. More


Rae Zabokrtsky, OT graduate student, and Sharry Nielsen, Extension educator, staffed a display at Nebraska Extension Fall Conference, highlighting Nebraska and National AgrAbility and prevention of back pain/injury. Several marketing and educational brochures were handed to participants at the conference.

The Midwest Rural Ag Safety and Health (MRASH) Conference was held in Ankeny, IA, this month. Rae Zabokrtsky and Sharry Nielsen attended the conference, and shared "Managing and Preventing Back Pain/Injury in Agriculture" educational brochures with attendees.


Ohio AgrAbility staff met with an Ohio AgrAbility member and Viet Nam veteran at the Cincinnati VA hospital. More

AgrAbility Program Advisory Board member and client, Bill Wilkins, received Easter Seals TriState' s Brighter Futures Award for his continuous outreach to the community and his contributions to those who are in need of his experience and good council. More


AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians worked with PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide a multi-day training to the F.A.R.M. Coordinators for each VR district office. The training helped VR counselors better understand production agriculture, AT for farm operations, and alternative funding opportunities.


Tennessee RUNAbility 5KTennessee AgrAbility had a very busy November! Tennessee Ag RUN Ability 5K Glo Run/1 mile Fun Run had a turnout of 37 runners/walkers on a very, very, very cold Tennessee November 1st. More

UT Extension held their state conference in Nashville. Tennessee AgrAbility set up an exhibit focusing on the AgrAbility program.

Since the Tennessee AgrAbility staff was at the state conference in Nashville, Murray State University OHSA graduate students took over the annual Calloway County Safety Expo for middle and high school students in KY. More

Tim Prather attended the FVC National Stakeholders Conference and came back excited about working to expand services to help veteran disabled farmers in TN.


Darlene Carlisle and Anne Brown-Reither staffed a booth at the Utah Farm Bureau Annual Convention on November 20 in Layton, Utah. More

Anne Brown-Reither presented about the AgrAbility program to the Cache Interagency Council (CIC) on November 19 in Logan. More


Tom Younkman and Kenny Smith of VT AgrAbility attended the Farmer Veteran Coalition's National Stakeholders Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, where national leaders in the movement gathered to network, share experiences, and expand the cause. More


Wisconsin AgrAbility Advisory Council

AgrAbility of Wisconsin held their annual Advisory Council meeting on Thursday, November 6th. More


West Virginia

To provide training, educational, and assessment services, WV AgrAbility personnel conducted several farm visits during November 2014. More

For marketing and educational purposes, various meetings and conferences were attended by WV AgrAbility personnel. More

WV AgrAbility personnel are administering the Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints mini-grants. More

Staff Changes


Mrs. Lelan Dixon - new NIFA staffMrs. Lelan Dixon has recently joined NIFA's AgrAbility team as a new Program Specialist. Lelan has a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences/Plant Science from Southern University A&M College and an M.S. in Plant Science from Florida A&M University, thesis: Pedigree Analysis of 'Cynthiana' and 'Norton' Grape by DNA Microsatellite Markers. She was an Extension Agent -Commercial Horticulture, University of Florida and Soil Conservationist with NRCS in Georgia and Maryland. She also was a training specialist with the University of Hawaii-National Disaster Preparedness Center. Lelan will be providing primary program specialist support for NIFA's AgrAbility program, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and other programs to be determined. Lelan can be reached at (202) 401-6950 and at


Kansas AgrAbility welcomes Nancy Stork as a new assistive technology ag specialist for north central and northeast Kansas. Nancy is based at OCCK in Salina, Kansas. We also bid farewell to Galen Seehafer and Janice Fouard who have retired.


Abigail Jenses - new Wisconsin staffAgrAbility welcomes Abigail Jensen to the team. She is a student at UW-Madison majoring in animal science and life sciences communication. Abi is working part-time through the school year, and will take on a full-time role during the summer months. Abi will be working on newsletters, social media, website development, client intake, correspondence, and record keeping.

AgrAbility in the News

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Other News

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Upcoming Events

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Problems? Contact Clifford Racz, National AgrAbility Project,