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June 2016

National AgrAbility Project News

AgrAbility 25th Anniversary symbolPlease join us in Celebrating 25 Years of AgrAbility!
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016, Noon-2pm, at the
Hyatt Regency Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia. Please RSVP here to let us know you will be there!

Join AgrAbility colleagues and partner organizations for AgrAbility Regional Training Workshop in Frankenmuth, MI, August 9-10. A day of sessions will be focused on "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and more, followed by a day of visits to Michigan AgrAbility client farms. MoreCindy Chastain with other veterans and members of congress in front of US capital

On May 18, Cindy Chastain testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture during the hearing, "Service in the Field: Veteran Contributions to National Food Security." More

AgrAbility Webinar Series: Brain Injury and Beyond. Thursday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. EDT. MorePhoto of accessible parking signs and Amish hats

The annual Amish Handicap Gathering (their name for it) was held in Shipshewana, Indiana, June 3 & 4, with more than 500 people in attendance, and Chuck Baldwin, NAP special populations outreach coordinator, was able to enjoy Saturday with this fellowship while sharing printed AgrAbility material with the attendees. More

Steve Swain, the assistive technology specialist with the NAP, and Bill Begley with Life Essentials, conducted a training for the Alabama Vocational Rehabilitation Services supervisors in their state offices in Montgomery, Alabama. More

Farmer catching calf with ATV calf catcherToolbox Spotlight: The ATV-Mounted Calf Catcher is designed to catch and corral newborn or young calves on pasture so they can either be worked right there or transported without worrying about overly aggressive mother cows.

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

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility attended the XVII Binational Promotores Conference in Oakland. The workshops provided insight on how OSHA and the EPA are working together to have the safest work conditions possible. This event joined promotores from California and Zacatecas, Mexico.

Staff attended a veterans and farmers resources workshop in Modesto. More

CalAgrAbility was invited to participate in Cultiva la Salud's (Harvest Health) advisory council. More

CalAgrAbility attended a Wikipedia workshop in a national effort to have articles for occupational health. The workshop provided the tools needed to share information worldwide. CalAgrAbility completed the National AgrAbility Needs Assessment Survey and will be working with other agencies to promote a Wikipedia page for AgrAbility.

During Global Accessibility Awareness Day at UC Davis, CalAgrAbility attended the Accessibility Resources for Everyone workshop. More

CalAgrAbility was interviewed by CIRS under the California Heat Illness Prevention Study (CHIPS) in order gain CalAgrAbility insight on farmer and farmworker perceptions, better ways to get compliance and how to prevent further tragedy due to heat illness.

CalAgrAbility met Graciela Gomez, a soil conservationist from the NRCS Modesto office. Graciela would like CalAgrAbility to present about farming with a disability and ATs at their September 20th meeting for Spanish speaking farmers. More

CalAgrAbility continues to be active on Twitter @CalAgrAbility.


The Colorado AgrAbility Project was honored to speak at the Disabled American Veterans Department of Colorado annual convention. It was a well-attended event where many old acquaintances were renewed.

CAP has been working with the Veterans Administration's national benefits staff on a possible national call with all VA employment counselors across the country. It has been approved, and on June 15 staff will present on how AgrAbility can partner with the VA/VBA.


Training session participantsFarm Again/AgrAbility in Georgia conducted a training session entitled "Rehabilitating Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities" on May 18-19, in Tifton, GA. More

Meeting at Stag Vets Comfort FarmsStaff attended and assisted with a grand opening ceremony of Stag Vets, Inc. Stag Vets is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing the best care and treatment plan for veterans who are homeless, in need, or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI). More

Staff spoke to the Tifton Rotary Club on May 11about Farm Again/AgrAbility in Georgia. This event was attended by 65 Rotarians.


Steve Swain, rural rehabilitation specialist with the Indiana AgrAbility Project, has been invited to be a part of the Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services Home Modification Work Group. More

Linda Tarr, southern Indiana coordinator, did presentations for the Clark County Gardening Class, Region 7 Tri State Military Support Network in Evansville, and Hoosier Uplands Home Health. She also had a booth at the Yellowwood Terrace Health Fair in Clarksville and assisted with the planting of the Mitchell CommunityStephanie Decker Gardens.

Chuck Baldwin attended the disABILITIES Expo in Ft. Wayne, IN, May 21. More


Bolte standing lift demoTransitioning soldiers from Fort Riley, KS, and veterans from across Kansas participated in a farm bus tour on April 29. More

Kirmser Award K-State design teamA senior design team from the K-State Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department received first place in the Kirmser Undergraduate Research Competition, group category, for a project to help a Kansas AgrAbility customer remove hay bale wrap without leaving the cab of his skid steer. More


Oyster farmingMaine AgrAbility Project Director Richard Brzozowski and Project Coordinator Lani Carlson spent a day on the Damariscotta River touring and learning about oyster farming. More

King Hill FarmMaine AgrAbility sponsored a farmer-veteran field day at King Hill Farm in Penobscot, Maine. More

Maine AgrAbility resources were shared at multiple events across the state including the monthly FVC-ME chapter meeting, a Maine Beginning Farmers Resource working group, an open house at Advanced Modifications, and an in-depth discussion with the counselors at the Southern Maine Vet Center.

Richard Brzozowski with Maine FFA membersRichard Brzozowski discussed tractor safety with 17 Maine FFA members at a tractor driving evaluation event. The students were reminded of safe tractor operation rules and the need to prevent injuries while operating farm equipment.

Ellen Gibson, Maine AgrAbility specialist with Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, conducted two demonstration workshops on assistive technology for gardeners in May. More


Michigan AgrAbility staff thanks Michigan Farm Bureau for their invaluable assistance in the filming and production of two new videos about Michigan farmers who benefited from Michigan AgrAbility services. More

The Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page is chock-full of information, so check it out! New in May was a post about Dennis Johnston of Hubbardston getting acclimated to his new log lifter for his wood burner. More

Also on the Facebook page is information about the 3rd annual Farmer Veteran National Stakeholders Conference. Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) has announced that the FVC of Michigan will be hosting this conference at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University November 30 - December 2, 2016. More


On May 15, 2016, Karen Funkenbusch received the Internship Supervisor of the Year Award in recognition of her exceptional mentorship and dedicated support to Gabriel A. Nicolazzi, health sciences intern with the Missouri AgrAbility Program, School of Health Professions Department of Health Sciences.

Karen Funkenbusch also received the Excellence in Education Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the enhancement of student learning at the University of Missouri, Office of Student Affairs.

The Missouri AgrAbility Program was featured on pages 10-11 of "Extension strengthens communities by improving public health standards and expanding access to new, up-to-date health care practices," part of the Strengthening Community University of Missouri Extension Annual Report. More

Missouri AgrAbility is proud to share the 2016 edition of the Human Environmental Sciences Extension (HES) Impact, a report on HES Extension programs serving Missouri's families and communities. More

Carey Portell portraitCarey Portell hanging from trailerCarey Portell, Missouri AgrAbility client and advocate, is an active blogger. You can enjoy her blog, Stronger Than Yesterday, as she takes you on her journey. Read about her trials of recovery, parenthood, photography, cooking, life on a farm, and the Missouri AgrAbility!

Jessica Crane, UMKC School of Pharmacy student, prepared and submitted an article to the OATS, Inc. newsletter, The Wheel, titled "Pharm Fact: Summer Safety with Water Pills." More

To assist farmers/ranchers and potential AgrAbility clients with local wellness/health resources, UMKC student pharmacists Alicyn Magruder and Alex Schmuke shared tips for "How to Get the Most out of Your Pharmacist".

Many times rural pharmacists that are serving the health and safety needs of potential AgrAbility clients may not have access to the most recent research or updates in health management strategies. So student pharmacists set out to answer questions that are relevant to pharmacists as they provide care in their rural communities. More

Kelly Cochran, PharmD, BCPS, submitted a presentation abstract proposal titled Training Student Pharmacists to Become Partners in Agricultural Health and Safety for the 2016 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety & Health Conference in Sioux Center, Iowa. More


Nebraska AgrAbility staff participated in the Enable Nebraska meeting. The program can assist young individuals with disabilities to save money that will not be counted against their benefits. Susan Doer from Easter Seals Nebraska led this presentation, and the program will launch in June of 2016.

A new presentation about Nebraska AgrAbility was completed and sent to UNMC to be used at the AgriMed Course that will be held in July. The presentation will also be used elsewhere to promote Nebraska AgrAbility.

Bird Saddles in Texas made a saddle for a Nebraska AgrAbility client with a spinal cord injury. More


OH Peer to Peer conferenceThe Ohio AgrAbility Program convened a regional Peer to Peer conference on April 5th and 6th. The sessions were held in Plain City and Walnut Creek on two separate dates to give AgrAbility clients the convenience and flexibility to attend. More


Rail system for stanchion barnAgrAbility staff in Pennsylvania frequently help farmers make modifications to their dairy barns or milking parlors. This past month, the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians helped one dairy farmer install a rail system and automatic takeoffs in his stanchion barn. More


Disability awareness trainingPlans are underway for several farm safety days and events this year with the newly initiated multi-organizational state-wide TN Agricultural Safety and Health partnership. The team includes UT Extension, TSU, UTK, UK, TFC, TDA, TFBF, FSA and NRCS. More

TAP staff attended the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents & Specialists
Annual State Meeting and networked with agents and specialists across the state of Tennessee. More

Tennessee AgrAbility partnered again with the University of KY College of Nursing and Dr. Deborah Reed to deliver farmer health and safety information via a research project sponsored by CDC. More

TAP was proud to see national focus on farmer veterans and agriculture at the House Ag Committee. Staff agree that Colonel Chastain did an excellent job representing the AgrAbility program and responding to questions.

TN AgrAbility arthritis exhibitTAP staff attended the Arthritis and Nutrition webinar. Great job by Amber Wolfe. Two AgrAbility exhibits were on display: Gardening and Arthritis (state TEAFC "River Run" Annual Conference) and Creak, Crack, Moan and Groan: Farm Kids Get Arthritis too! (state TAE4-HW "Rolling on the River" Annual Conference).

Joetta at end of run/walk marathonTAP staff (Eileen and Joetta) participated in the UT Extension May Marathon Month. Each signed up to run/walk aGreen  photo - she stood for the cause! full marathon (26.2 miles) during the month of May.

Go Green: TAP staff turned her Facebook profile picture to green to show she stood for the cause!


In May, AgrAbility of Utah staff began a series of visits to Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) offices. The purpose of the visits is to present to all of Utah's Vocational Rehabilitation counselors about AgrAbility services and the partnership between USOR and AgrAbility of Utah. More

VermontVT AgrAbility working on farm safety video 1

Vermont AgrAbility has teamed up with the University of Vermont Extension Service and the WCAX television station to produce a farm safety video for a new farmers program. More


May was a busy month in the AgrAbility of Wisconsin office. On May 1st, Jelli's Market, along with AgrAbility of Wisconsin, hosted the 3rd annual Dandelion Dash 5k Run and Kids Dash. More

Abi & Rachel teaching youth at Rural Safety DayOn May 25th, Abi and Rachel attended Kewaunee County Rural Safety Days, where they taught area youth about the importance of farm safety and demonstrated some common assistive technologies for the students to see.

West Virginia

Anti-vibration glovesLori Ann Hagi from Mountain Cap requested an accessible gardening seminar and WV AgrAbility staff provided a training and assistive technology demonstration to 23 residents on "Gardening As We Age - How Can AgrAbility Assist". More

WV AgrAbility staff provided disability awareness to 520 youth during the Wood and Tyler County Progressive Farm Safety Day. More

Huntington Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Center hosted the 5th Annual Lincoln County Farm Field Day. WV AgrAbility staff presented the Farm Injury Prevention session with approximately 75 farmers attending. More

Peterson Rehabilitation Hospital provides an accessible and soothing garden for residents and community members. WV AgrAbility staff provided a three-hour training to 25 Ohio County master gardeners titled "Using Proper Body Mechanics and Ergonomic Tools While Gardening". More

During the month of May, WV AgrAbility staff conducted one farm site assessment and worked with West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services on securing funding for the needed agricultural modifications. More

Staff Changes

NAPAmber wolfe photo

The National AgrAbility Project bids goodbye to Amber Wolfe at the Arthritis Foundation, Heartland Region as she begins a new position with that organization. Amber has worked with AgrAbility at the national and state levels for many years and contributed much to both programs. We wish her well with her new adventures.


Colorado AgrAbility Project said farewell to David Cessna this month. He will be missed as he moves on to retirement.


Abigail Yarick, John McGinnis, Jamie Lister, and David MiddletonPlease welcome, from left to right, Abigail Yarick, John McGinnis, and Jamie Lister to the Missouri AgrAbility Project. During the summer of 2016, all three upper-level University of Missouri students will complete their health sciences internship with the University of Missouri Extension, Missouri AgrAbility Program. Also, on the right, welcome David Middleton who has been hired as a consultant to the Missouri AgrAbility Program to facilitate AgrAbility fee-for-service, on-site farmstead assessments. More


Laura Cherry AkgermanOSU Extension and the Ohio AgrAbility Project welcome Laura Cherry Akgerman as the new disability services coordinator. Laura will serve Ohio State's agricultural college faculty and staff by answering questions and finding solutions for specific disability accommodations for outreach events held around the state. She will also oversee many of the services offered to Ohio AgrAbility clients to maintain their quality of life as they remain engaged in farming. More


Congratulations to T Ellenbecker on her 15 years of service to Easter Seals of Wisconsin and the FARM program working with AgrAbility clients!

Congratulations to Abi Jensen on her new position as Outreach Specialist! Abi is excited about the opportunity to continue working with farmers and farm families through this position.

We welcome intern Rachel Gerbitz to the AgrAbility of Wisconsin office!

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,