AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians participated in the 25th Annual Farming for the Future Conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). This was an excellent opportunity to share AgrAbility information with farmers, educators, community and state leaders, and to network with other exhibitors. AgrAbility staff concentrated on the idea that their services and assistive technology are a key part of the future of agriculture and sustainability. Staff also emphasized information on proper lifting techniques, general farm safety, and arthritis.
AgrAbility PA staff have been participating in Extension crop and dairy days across the state. These day-long events provide pesticide application credits, updates on the latest farming technology, and more. They are also a social and networking time for many production farmers. AgrAbility networks with the farmers during break times and encourages them to spread the word about AgrAbility services.
AgrAbility partnered with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) to exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Growers Convention. This created an opportunity to reach out to growers who have labor-intensive operations. There was a large interest in arthritis information, especially related to pruning and other repetitive tasks.
The winter weather has not slowed down the AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians case coordinators farm visit schedule. In fact, the weather conditions have provided time for some clients to slow down and consider needed changes on the farm. Currently, client operations range from dairy goats to specialty crops and egg productions, but with a high percentage being traditional dairy farm families. As the spring weather arrives, staff will be working heavily with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to install equipment modifications and assistive technology on farms all across the state.
Submitted by Abbie Spackman