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March 2016

National AgrAbility Project News

NTW Updates:Landscape photo of Ft. Collins, CO

The NAP staffed an exhibit for the four days of the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, the largest indoor farm show in America.Cover image of arthritis and gardeing booklet

A committee from AgrAbility, the Arthritis Foundation, Extension, Master Gardeners, and other groups has created a unique, comprehensive booklet Arthritis and Gardening: A Guide for Home Gardeners and Small-Scale Producers. More

The AgrAbility webinar Urban Agriculture: An Overview with Special Emphasis on People with Disabilities and Veterans is now archived at of Tuskegee conference program

Paul Jones staffed an exhibit and made a presentation to participants at the 124th Annual Farmers Conference at Tuskegee University on February 18-19.

Nationally funded AgrAbility partner, the Arthritis Foundation Heartland Region, had a presence at the Midwest Women in Agriculture annual conference in Columbus, IN, on Feb. 16-18. Amber Wolfe served on the planning committee, presented a session on arthritis and agriculture, and staffed a display booth.

photo of farmer climbing Deckmate Access Ladder on trailerToolbox Spotlight: The folding, portable Deckmate Trailer-Access Ladder is designed to provide safe entry onto and exit from flatbed and van trailers. It's 18 inches wide, 53 inches long (30 inches when folded), weighs less than 20 pounds, and has a 400-pound weight capacity.

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

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility staff attended the AgrAbility all-staff call. Staff is excited to actively participate in celebrating AgrAbility's work and mission.

Staff presented "Overview of the California AgrAbility Program and Agricultural Ergonomics Research at UC Davis" at Bainer Hall on the UC Davis Campus. Attendees for the presentation included Bio and Ag Engineering students, staff, and professors.

CalAgrAbility attended the AgriSafe webinar on February 11 titled "Risk Perception and PPE Provision Among Thoroughbred Farm Management," presented by Jessica Miller, University of Kentucky.

Rosendo Ramirez - CalAgrAbility clientOn February 12, CalAgrAbility visited client Rosendo Ramirez. Staff spoke to him about his nomination to be part of the 25 Years, 25 Stories campaign AgrAbility is launching to celebrate AgrAbility's 25 years. More

CalAgrAbility attended the webinar, "Determinantes Sociales de la Salud," presented by Migrant Clinicians Network from Austin, TX, on February 17.

On February 23, CalAgrAbility attended the webinar "Secrets of Success for the Health Care Team and Community Health Workers," presented by the National Diabetes Education Program.

Canzilla at Clarksburg Health and Safety FairFebruary 24, CalAgrAbility attended the 1st annual Health and Safety Fair at Clarksburg Middle School in Clarksburg, CA. About 200 participants attended the fair, mostly seasonal farm working families.

Staff attended the AgrAbility Webinar Series session on February 25 titled "Urban Agriculture: An Overview with Special Emphasis on People with Disabilities and Veterans."

CalAgrAbility met with Migrant Education, Woodland on February 25th to discuss collaborating and outreach to the Davis Migrant Center on April 6th, the Madison Migrant Center on April 13th, and the Dixon Migrant Center on April 20th.


The Colorado AgrAbility Project attended the Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair and networked with many providers of services for veterans. They met many young men and women and discussed farming careers with them. Staff anticipate following up with the contacts and helping them better understand their options in agriculture.

CO AgrAbility was invited by the Colorado Division of Military and Veterans Affairs to once again write a grant for funds to assist veterans. The application has been filed and hopes are to receive funding to purchase assistive technology for the wounded warrior population.

Much of CO AgrAbility's time this month and next was and will be spent preparing for the 2016 NTW here in Fort Collins, CO.

Peruse the Colorado AgrAbility Spring Newsletter here!


GA AgrAbility staff at a volunteer dayAll AgrAbility in Georgia staff participated in a volunteer day at a client's farm to help them get their orchard ready for the new season. Several family members and friends also participated.

The Georgia Cattleman's Association donated a full page ad to promote the project. Click here to view PDF.

Please join the Georgia AgrAbility/Farm Again Facebook page at https://www. You will get to meet many of the farmers they are working with.

Staff met with the director for Georgia's High School High Tech program to discuss a potential partnership between the GA AgrAbility Project and the program, which assists high school students with disabilities who are interested in farming.

Georgia AgrAbility recently updated their website. Be sure to visit them at


Steve Swain, rural rehabilitation specialist with Indiana AgrAbility, made a presentation during the final classroom session for physical therapist assistants at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne before they begin their internships. More

IN Governor Mike Pence & members of IN Grown - Homegrown by HeroesOn February 29, 2016, seven farmer veterans became the first official members of the joint label Indiana Grown Homegrown by Heroes at a ceremony in the Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana. More

Amber Wolfe, Arthritis Foundation, attended the three February regional meetings of the Indiana Dairy Producers, and is working closely with several farms to present pilot trainings on the topic of arthritis, assistive tools, and prevention for dairy workers with Spanish as their first spoken language. More

Staff in Southern Indiana has been busy with Soil and Water Conservation Society meetings, open houses, the National Farm Machinery Show, FSA trainings, and work on an accessible community garden project. More


Kansas AgrAbility Project (KAP) provided a half-day training to 13 new vocational rehabilitation counselors as part of ongoing collaboration between Kansas Rehabilitation Services (KRS) and KAP. More


January's weather played havoc with a few events, but Kentucky AgrAbility managed to see many of their clients and get the ball rolling with their partners at KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. More

In February, Kentucky AgrAbility was once again at the National Farm Machinery Show at the KY Expo Center in Louisville, KY. More

March started out with the first veteran farmer conference being held for veterans in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia, on March 5th. More

KY AgrAbility will be traveling to Colorado in April and also to the American Occupational Therapy Association conference in Chicago the week before NTW.

A word on John Hancock: He is planning to be back to work by the end of March. KY AgrAbility has surely missed his presence at the office and the sound of Buddy coming down the hall.


Maine AgrAbility finalized the article 'Respirator Issues for Agricultural Workers'. Farmers at the Maine Farm Days event in Clinton, Maine, were surveyed about their awareness of contaminant exposure and their use of respirators on farms. Read the article here.

Ellen Gibson at Winter Workshop seriesMaine AgrAbility staffer, Ellen Gibson, presented "Gardening for the Long Term" as part of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust 'Winter Workshop' series. More

Maine AgrAbility Project Coordinator Lani Carlson attended the Shellfish Working Group meeting on February 10, 2016, held at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. More


Michigan AgrAbility would like to thank National AgrAbility for coordinating the printing of the AgrAbility posters! Michigan AgrAbility distributed the posters to all MSU Extension offices this month and will work with their stakeholders to further distribution.

On the Michigan AgrAbility website blog, the "Coping with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Arthritis" December 2015 webinar, co-presented by a Michigan AgrAbility staff member, was advertised to encourage visitors to learn more about these potentially debilitating conditions and how AgrAbility can help and offer them resources.

Roger Pellegrini - MI AgrAbility clientCome and meet Roger Pellegrini from Vulcan in Michigan's Upper Peninsula on the Michigan AgrAbility website blog. More

Read a great news article about Paul Geer, a flower farmer with multiple disabilities who has benefited from Michigan AgrAbility services. The article can be accessed via the Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page.

Save the Date: Michigan AgrAbility is hosting an AgrAbility Regional Training Workshop in Frankenmuth Michigan August 8-10, 2016. More information to come!


MO AgrAbility display at Western Farm ShowAgrAbility staff, in collaboration with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) and MO Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (MoDVR), displayed at the Western Farm Show. More

Gabe Nicolazze, MO AgrAbility, at Western Farm ShowGabe Nicolazzi, health science intern with the Missouri AgrAbility Program and Brain Injury Association of Missouri, participated in numerous varied activities in February. More

Physical Therapy (PT) students at the University of Missouri facilitated an older, senior farmer with chronic disease case study. More

AgrAbility intern student Gabe Nicolazzi, reached out to numerous radio stations for PSA placements of 30-second spots for Brain Injury Fact of the Day. More

Five regional seminars were held throughout Missouri for coaches and school personnel to learn about managing sports-related concussions and the impact the concussion may have for rural youth participating in sports. More


Women's health and safety was the focus for exhibits and presentations at the 30th annual Women in Ag conference in Kearney this month. More

The Nebraska AgrAbility Advisory Committee held its annual meeting with discussion centered on sustainability. More

Rod Petersen, rural rehab specialist, connected with vendor Kelly Florell, owner of Kelly's Auto and Trailer Sales, to promote AgrAbility at the Cattlemen's Classic Expo in Kearney. More


Over the last few months, Ohio AgrAbility has worked with OSU Extension - Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) to build a partnership that can better serve Ohio's rural communities and farm families. More


AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians booth at Farming for the Future ConferenceAgrAbility for Pennsylvanians participated in the 25th Annual Farming for the Future Conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). More

AgrAbility PA staff have been participating in Extension crop and dairy days across the state. More

AgrAbility partnered with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) to exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Growers Convention. More

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. More


ROPS focus group - TNTN AgrAbility (TNAP) participated in the focus group for the ROPS Rebate Program. More

Cold winter months brought a lot of networking at annual winter meetings, expos, and conferences with presentations and exhibits. More

TNAP made a farm visit with a new farmer veteran who is raising rabbits, goats, and chickens. More

TN AgrAbility is getting ready for their first farmer veteran workshop in Clarksville, TN, April 2nd. More

TN AgrAbility participated in training webinars titled "Risk Perception and PPE Provision among Thoroughbred Farm Management" and "Urban Agriculture: An Overview with Special Emphasis on People with Disabilities and Veterans".


Texas AgrAbility held their quarterly Project Advisory Meeting in February. Battleground to Breaking Ground workshop locations have been set for 2016. Ideas for getting new clients were discussed, as was organizing potential members for a sustainability committee.

Erin Kimbrough completed the Holistic Management International Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training as both a participant and speaker. The objective of this program is to educate and empower beginning farmer/ranchers so they are positioned to apply holistic management principles and practices in order to build successful businesses.


AgrAbility of Utah conducted outreach at the annual Castle Valley crop classes in Price on February 3. AgrAbility resource facilitators were able to meet with a number of area farmers who attended to learn about the latest options for weed management and soil health.

AgrAbility of Utah attended the 2016 Beef Field Day, February 9, at the BYU Harman Conference Center in Provo. More

Utah staff participated in the trade show at the 2016 Utah State Dairy Convention, February 25-16, in St. George.

Sara Parker Hap project - VTVermont

Vermont AgrAbility continues to work with other nonprofit organizations to offer services to the farming community. These partners enable VT AgrAbility to offer a wide range of services for their clients. More


AgrAbility of Wisconsin attended the MOSES Organic Conference in La Crosse February 25-27 where many organic farmers gathered. More

AgrAbility of WI at Marshfield Farm ShowAgrAbility of Wisconsin attended the Marshfield Farm Show onAgrAbility of WI booth - Marshfield Farm Show February 27-28. The Marshfield Farm Show exposed the program to many central Wisconsin farmers. This farm show was the perfect opportunity to promote the 25 year celebration of the National AgrAbility and the AgrAbility of Wisconsin projects.

West Virginia

Melissa Stewart and Inetta Fluharty are representing WV AgrAbility on the 2016 National Training Workshop Planning Committee.

West Virginia AgrAbility was represented at the WV Farm Bureau Day at the Legislature. More

WV staff attended the Disability Advocacy Day at the Legislature. MoreWV AgrAbility farm hazard display

"Choose Your Own Adventure at WVU" was the theme for West Virginia University Day at the Legislature. More

WV AgrAbility booth at WV Small Farm ConferenceWest Virginia AgrAbility was represented at the 12th Annual WV Small Farm Conference. The AgrAbility exhibit was well received and featured farm hazard identification and noise level education. More

Staff Changes


In March, we will say good-bye to Sharry Nielsen, Nebraska AgrAbility co-PI, as she retires from Nebraska Extension. Sharry has been with the Nebraska project since 2008, and remarks that farm safety people are the best people in the world!!! She won't break all ties as she still has a couple of programs on the calendar, and will continue teaching safety days for youth.

AgrAbility in the News

Click here for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.

Other News

Click here for other news of interest to AgrAbility staff members.

Upcoming Events

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Problems? Contact Clifford Racz, National AgrAbility Project,