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August 2015

West Virginia

In July, a brief overview of WV AgrAbility, including "Ergonomic Tools and Body Mechanics" was presented by WV AgrAbility to a group of farmers at the Mt. Hope Fire Department, in conjunction with West Virginia State University's Minority and Veteran Farmer Initiative. The presentation highlighted how to "Work smarter - not harder!", using the leverage of the tool, adapted handles, various assistive technologies, and proper body mechanics. Attendees learned about the impacts of secondary injury and other chronic health issues on areas including productivity and quality of life. Videos were used to demonstrate the use of assistive technology in decreasing secondary injuries and allowing the farmer to regain ability or continue working in a chosen area of agricultural production.

For more information about the WVSU Veteran Farmers Initiative, visit this URL:,-KISRA-Target-Minority-and-Veteran-Farmers-wi.aspx

Two farm site assessments were conducted in July by WV AgrAbility. The first assessment was for a gentleman who is a Vietnam veteran, paraplegic, and hay producer, who had been injured in a car accident 45 years ago. He has experienced increased difficulty performing his agricultural tasks over the past year. Recently, he has been having trouble accessing his equipment and shop areas due to overuse of his shoulders during transferring. WV AgrAbility conducted the farm/home assessment and discussed possible assistive technology solutions as well as other farming modifications with the farmer.

The second assessment was for a vegetable producer with muscular dystrophy. WV AgrAbility has recommended and provided farm and home modifications during the past for this farmer, but recent changes in his mobility and functioning required an additional assessment. Various assistive technology solutions were discussed with this farmer.

Ongoing research for appropriate assistive technology and modifications for both of these farmers will continue until satisfactory solutions are found and funding is explored.

For more information about WV veteran farmers and the Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture program, visit this URL:

WV AgrAbility attended the community and economic development joint meeting with West Virginia State University and West Virginia University. As a joint effort, both universities are determining methods of boosting the economy of WV communities. Agriculture is playing a large role in this process, providing farmers with farm-to-school opportunities, and expanding the need for "green" spaces and urban agriculture. WV AgrAbility provided input regarding the need to consider people with disabilities, veteran farmers, and new farmers with disabilities in a community assessment for hospitality and revitalization of a community.-,
Related website: The WV Farm to School Community Development Group:!

A webinar titled, "Assistive Technology for the Outdoorsman" was attended by WV AgrAbility. This webinar, provided by Georgia AgrAbility, highlighted assistive technology solutions used by farmers for outdoor recreation. Hunting and fishing solutions, as well as mobility to desired hunting and fishing destinations were discussed. WV AgrAbility provides a holistic approach when serving clients, so the need is essential for knowledge of currently available adaptive recreational equipment in the areas of hunting and fishing.

The webinar was hosted at the following website / URL:

Submitted by Janet Della-Giustina