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June 2015

National AgrAbility Project News

Registration is now open for the for the 2015 Arthritis, AgrAbility, and Rural Health Conference on August 24-27 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The call for proposals closes June 30. More

Cindy Chastain, veterans outreach coordinator for the NAP, visited the Veterans Farm in Jacksonville, FL, May 14-15. The workshop on the 15th, the New Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Workshop, was attended by over 100 veterans and family members from several states. More

Dr. English of UAPB on TrackchairThe NAP sponsored an exciting AgrAbility workshop for six 1890 land grant institutions, hosted by the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB), May 18-19. More

NAP consultant Ed Bell is one of 17 farmers featured at the Indiana State Fair this year. He gets his very own day! More

The AgrAbility webinar Small Farm Guide to Selecting and Purchasing Equipment is now archived at along with the presentation file.

The Arthritis & Agriculture website is currently being updated with new information and resources, and is up and running for your current needs.

3rd Hand Support PoleToolbox Spotlight: The Third-Hand Support Pole provides that 'extra hand' for jacking, bracing, clamping, or supporting whatever up-off-the-floor or over-your-head tasks call for.

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

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility and their partner, Ability Tools, continue to strengthen collaboration by educating health and safety professionals as well as the public. More

CalAgrAbility led a "Rehabilitating Farmers" workshop for the 18-member Behavioral Health Board of the Sutter-Yuba Mental Health Services, where they learned about opportunities for outreach services to the agricultural community impacted by mental health. More

CalAgrAbility led a "Health is Wealth: Diabetes" workshop in Spanish at the Madison Migrant Center, in which they stressed the importance of checking feet, glucose, medications, eating fruits and vegetables, and staying hydrated while in the fields. More

CalAgrAbility attended a Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) event in Yuba City with social service and health agencies promoting health and wellness for over 100 ag families. More

With 14 leaders from the Yolo County Nonprofit Leaders Alliance, CalAgrA staff learned about YoloArts and their award winning Art & Ag Project to cultivate creativity in the farming community. More

CalAgrAbility Tweeted about the National Hmong American Farmers Conference in Fresno, CA. "#Hmong Village News," which helps to share and preserve the Hmong people, culture and language, chose our tweet as a "favorite". More

To celebrate mental health awareness month, CalAgrAbility released the "Farmers and Suicide," Research News Alert. More

CalAgrAbility celebrated Multiple Sclerosis (MS) World Day with English and Spanish newsletters showing outstanding stories of two CalAgrAbility consumers with MS. More

Students Paul & Veronica, Maria (CalAg) and Anna-Ruth (Farm to Mouth) with Cornwell pigCalAgrAbility met with the Director, Anna-Ruth Crittenden, of the Farm to Mouth Program, which gives jobs to folks with mental illnesses. Paul and Veronica, students from Chico State University working with folks and children with autism, joined the site visit. More

CalAgrA continues to Tweet. Follow them at


May has been a month for fundraising. Colorado AgrAbility wrote several grants in the last few months and they are coming to fruition. More


Linda Tarr, coordinator for southern Indiana, is working with the Southern Indiana Center for Independent Living on assistive technology training through AgrAbility and INDATA (Indiana Assistive Technology Act Project) to be held in June. She has also been busy with health fairs and has several scheduled next month.

Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist Steve Swain, along with Bill Begley from Life Essentials, met with the staff of the Danville, Indiana, WorkOne office and the regional directors of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. More

Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, presented the concepts of universal design and home modifications at the Tippecanoe County Public Library. More

May was National Arthritis Awareness Month! Amber Wolfe, AgrAbility Partner from the Arthritis Foundation, promoted the AgrAbility project in a number of ways. More

Amber Wolfe attended a number of different functions during May, including the Purdue Women in Agriculture stakeholder's luncheon and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture's FFA National Chapter judging meeting. More


4-H youth at "Kids to Campus" event on assistive technologyMaine AgrAbility staff made a variety of presentations this month. More

The Maine AgrAbility staff meeting was held Chevy Silverado adaptation by Ride-Away at Ride-Away (which provides adaptive transportation solutions) this month, where staff received a behind the scenes tour of the workshop and the variety of vehicle modifications that are possible. The most exciting was the first-hand view of the Chevy Silverado adaptations.

Maine AgrAbility resources were shared at multiple events across the state, including a veterans' resource fair, vocational high school forestry program, the Maine Beginning Farmers Resource working group, a county tractor safety course and a County Health Coalition meeting.

Maine AgrAbility worked in part with other service providers across the state to develop Publication #2432: Guide to Veteran-to-Farmer Training Pilot Program Resources in Maine. More


MI State Alpha Gamma Rho volunteers at Linda Streeter's farmFive members of the Michigan State University Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) Fraternity held a work day at Linda Streeter's farm located in Michigan's Van Buren County. Streeter is an AgrAbility client who suffers from post-polio syndrome and its many complications. More


Karen Funkenbusch & Joseph Brajdich at MU Health Sciences CenterThursday, May 10th, in support of Trauma Awareness Month, Joseph Brajdich and Karen Funkenbusch, MU Extension AgrAbility Program; Kassie Oliver, Trauma Outreach/Injury Prevention Coordinator, University of Missouri Health System; Frank L. Mitchell Jr., MD Trauma Center, had a table in the front lobby of the MU Health Sciences Center (hospital) for employees, patients, and visitors to stop by. More

Phillip Boydston, Lincoln U., on Trackchair at UAPB AgrAbility workshopUniversity of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, affectionately coined the "flagship of the delta", was host to an AgrAbility workshop organized by the National AgrAbility Project. More

Linda Geist, Kent Faddis, and Kyle Spradley are winners in the 2015 Heart of America Awards contest for the Zane Volkmann, Back in the Saddle, AgrAbility story. More

During the month of May, David Middleton from Lincoln University presented at the Beginning Farmers Workshop about AgrAbility services. More

On April 26, 2015, the Brain Injury Association of Missouri Survivor and Family Seminar - Western Missouri featured Susan Jaster, AgrAbility partner representative from Lincoln University. More

Maureen Cunningham, executive director with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, shared information about brain injury and services available for veterans and family members at the AgrAbility-hosted Beginning Farmers Seminar held at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. More

Networking with professionals to increase knowledge about the Missouri AgrAbility Project continued at the networking meeting of the Missouri Association of Rehab Facilities. More

Susan Jaster of Lincoln University assisted an AgrAbility Client with information about adding small ruminants to his ten-acre operation. The AgrAbility client would like to visit her operation in the near future.

Susan Jaster was invited by Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall at Lincoln University and Darrell Brammer of UCM Warrensburg's Business Planning Center to talk about the Innovative Small Farm Outreach Program (ISFOP) and AgrAbility. More

The Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Group is directed by Eleazar Gonzalez of the USDA. They met with Susan Jasper in Marshall, MO, for about three hours. More


Ohio AgrAbility Project was pleased to receive a second grant from the Ohio Attorney General's Office to purchase assistive equipment for Ohio farmers with disabilities. More


TN AgrA with 3rd graders at Progressive Ag Safety DayTN AgrAbility staff participated in the Haywood County Progressive Agricultural Safety Day for 3rd graders, manning the disability awareness station. 200 students participated.

TN AgrAbility staff attended the State Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists Conference at Fall Creek Falls State Park.

TN AgrAbility staff is helping plan the Regional Arthritis, AgrAbility and Rural Health Conference. They are looking forward to co-hosting the event and to seeing you all in TN August 24-27!


Utah State University Extension released AgrAbility of Utah's new fact sheet, Preventing Back Injury while Working in Agriculture. More


WI AgrA at Kewaunee Rural Safety dayKewaunee Rural Safety day was Wednesday, May 20th, in Luxemburg, WI. AgrAbility had three representatives there talking to third graders about the modifications that AgrAbility can make to farms, or farm machinery. More

One option that Wisconsin AgrAbility offers is the Agricultural Equipment Exchange site. More

West Virginia

WV AgrAbility Program Specialist, Inetta Fluharty, conducted an on-site farm assessment in Barbour County, WV. More

Accessible rampInetta Fluharty recently spoke at a meeting of the WV Statewide People First Advisory and Planning Committee at the Parchment Valley Conference Center. More

WV AgrA's Inetta Fluharty at Women in Ag Day, Moundsville State PenitentiaryDuring the 6th Annual Women in Agriculture Day held at the Moundsville State Penitentiary, Inetta Fluharty spoke to a full house of 275 women farmers on the topic of "Ergonomics, Women, and the Tools You Use". More

Inetta Fluharty provided disability awareness information to 310 Wood County youth at the Wood County Progressive Farm Safety Days. More

Gardening workshop at Five Loaves & Two FishesWV AgrAbility staff recently initiated an instructional program in McDowell County. The training is part of the Ag Incubation Program that WV AgrAbility staff are creating in conjunction with the WV National Guard and the WV Department of Agriculture. More

Staff Changes


Abbie Spackman just came on board with AgrAbility PA as the new case manager. She has always loved agriculture and helping the people around her. She grew up on her family farm in central Pennsylvania, raising sheep and growing organic crops. She was active in 4-H and many other activities in her community. Abbie has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and extension education from The Pennsylvania State University. She has worked at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs and in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department researching for several safety projects. Abbie also enjoys photography and is an active volunteer firefighter. She is excited to join AgrAbility and to use her experience and education to help farmers and all the people she meets.

A new non-profit partner for PA. For 61 years, UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) Central PA has provided support to individuals of all ages with many different types of disabilities. UCP has also provided assistive technology support and services to those same individuals for nearly 30 years. UCP's vast experience, coupled with their demonstrated success in digital media marketing, creates an effective partnership that provides the foundation for positive outcomes as they relate to farmers with disabilities. Janeen Latin, Jackie Wardle, and Karen Beaston will work to strengthen the foundation for outreach in the matters of presence and consistency on social media, refining the outreach list, and defining success.


Geoff Whitchurch has left his full-time position with VT AgrAbility, but remains with us as a part-timer continuing to support our outreach programming and promotion. We wish him well in his new endeavors.


Mackenzie SarbackerMackenzie Sarbacker joins AgrAbility of Wisconsin as summer intern. Mackenzie is the 20-year-old daughter of John and Michelle Sarbacker and is currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where she is majoring in agriculture education-non-teaching. Sarbacker is active with the Pioneer Dairy Club and InterVarsity on campus. Sarbacker has a lifelong passion for the dairy industry. She was introduced to agriculture at a young age on her family's farm, Sarbacker Cattle Company, in Belleville. Sarbacker brings experience from her role as a respite care provider for United Cerebral Palsy of Dane County and from her role as a camp counselor at Badger Camp. With a passion for agriculture and a passion for working with others, Sarbacker looks forward to joining the AgrAbility staff.

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,