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July 2016

National AgrAbility Project News

Clifford RaczThe NAP was shocked and saddened by the passing of Cliff Racz last week. Cliff, age, 38, passed away at his home on Monday, July 11, 2016. More

AgrAbility celebrated its 25th anniversary on July 12 with a luncheon during the RESNA annual conference. Speakers included Lanon Bacaam holding 25th anniversary reportMaria Town, President Obama's disability liaison; Representative Rodney Davis from Illinois; Lanon Baccam, USDA's veteran liaison; Brad Rein from USDA; and a panel of AgrAbility farmers. Since it's been an overwhelming week for the NAP, a full write-up will be included in August's e-Note, but photos can be seen here.

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. More

Dr. Bill Field and several SRAP staff members participated in the ISASH 2016 Annual Conference in Lexington, KY, June 26-20.

The AgrAbility webinar Brain Injury and Beyond has been archived at AgrAbility at Farm Homestead Day

Toolbox Spotlight: The HERShovel(tm) Shovel-spade hybrid for women was scientifically designed to be ergonomic for women, taking into account such factors as a female's body type, strengths, digging/shoveling style, etc.

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

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility presented on AgrAbility services, diabetes, and arthritis to 30 farmworkers at the Yuba City Migrant Center tenants meeting. CalAgrAbility brochures were distributed to the attendees, and staff was able to connect with a farmworker with a shoulder injury.

Staff are in the process of creating CalAgrAbility's first ever quarterly newsletter. The objective behind the quarterly is to feature outreach highlights, information sheets, stories, upcoming events they will be attending, and much more. The quarterly will be published on July 15th, so stay tuned.

Ability Tools, CalAgrAbility partner, held the Ability Tools Reuse Conference on June 20th and 21st in Sacramento, CA. More

CalAgrAbility attended the "Promoting Total Farmer Health" webinar, presented by Charlotte Halverson, an occupational health nurse for the AgriSafe Network. More

Staff have been publicizing the CalAgrAbility program statewide through registering in the 2-1-1 system in every county. More

Alberto Hauffen from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources interviewed CalAgrAbility on topics related to farming and disability. This interview will include video snippets to showcase AT examples.

CalAgrAbility continues to be active on Twitter @CalAgrAbility.


Colorado AgrAbility attended the American GI Forum and the VFW and DAV conventions. More

Staff was invited by one of Colorado's state legislators to be a panelist on a Farm Bureau workshop on veterans' activities in agriculture and possible sustainability options for AgrAbility.

Following months of contact at upper levels of the VA, Colorado AgrAbility was the featured speaker on a VA national employment counselors training conference call with VA counselors across the nation in telephonic attendance.

Colorado AgrAbility was invited to the table at the Colorado Agricultural Council. Staff presented on AgrAbility and the need for sustainable funding, asking the group to consider what they can do to assist. More


Staff spoke as the keynote speaker at the Summer Team Agriculture Georgia meeting on June 16, 2016. More

The Georgia AgrAbility Advisory Board met on June 30, 2016, with a focus on sustainability of the program. More


Indiana AgrAbility staffed an exhibit at the 2016 Indiana FFA Convention held at Purdue University. More

Steve Swain the rural rehabilitation specialist for Indiana AgrAbility presented "Gardening Tools for People with Disabilities or People Who are Getting Older" as part of the Purdue All-You-Can-Learn Buffet. More

Cindy Chastain and Katherine Prasuhn participated in two veteran community outreach events hosted by the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs. More

Linda Tarr, southern Indiana coordinator, had a booth at the Orange County REMC annual meeting with over 1000 attendees. She also participated in the first Stand Down in Madison, helped the Area 15 Agency on Aging with the Senior Day at the Washington County fair, and had a booth at the Hoosier Uplands Health and Information Fair held at Paoli.

The Indiana AgrAbility News Note, the Project's semiannual newsletter, is available in PDF here.


The 13th Annual Institute in Technology held at the KSU research farm was attended by over 100 rehabilitation specialists, medical professionals and others on both days. More

AgrAbility was included in a workshop held for beginning farmers at St. Catharine's College in Springfield, KY, on May 21st. More

KY AgrAbility attended the RESNA, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, conference in Washington, DC in mid-July.

The National Disabled American Veteran Conference will be held in Atlanta, GA, the first week in August. Mike Lewis, KY AgrAbility partner and director of the KY Growing Warrior program, will be representing KY AgrAbility at this conference.

Carol Weber and Clinton Matney from KY Office of Rehabilitation will be attending the ADED Conference, Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialist, in Columbus, OH, August 11th - 16th.

KY AgrAbility staff at 2016 NTWKY AgrAbility will be at the Regional Workshop in Frankenmuth, MI, in mid-August. Client visits and local fairs and expos are occurring all summer long and KY AgrAbility will be there also.

The summer looks like an active one to finish the grant year. KY AgrAbility hopes to see many other AgrAbility personnel at the conferences and workshops this summer.


Maine AgrAbility at Farm Homestead DayMaine AgrAbility staff conducted two workshops at Farm and Homestead Day at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Unity Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 11, 2016. More

The Maine Fiber Frolic is a 2-day fair specializing in fiber and fiber animals. AgrAbility staff had a booth, sharing program literature and resources to network connections. Staff also displayed at the St. Mary Garden Show during the same weekend, winning a 2nd place ribbon for best informational display.

Ben Hartwell moving cattleMaine AgrAbility along with the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Maine hosted a military veteran farm field day on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at Sebago Lake Ranch in Gorham, Maine. More

Maine AgrAbility had a table and display at the Rogers Farm Sustainable Agriculture Field Day on June 30, 2016. More

Maine AgrAbility shared three news articles this month from around the web. More


Dennis Johnston of Hubbardston is getting acclimated to his new log lifter for his wood burner. More

New Michigan engineersA new generation of AgrAbility engineers! Grass Lake Elementary STEM students created projects based on AgrAbility case studies. Well done, Mike Arbuckle's classes! Check out more photos on the Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page.

Jeremy Huffman and Samantha ModreskeMichigan Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) and Michigan AgrAbility are continuing to build an awesome partnership! More

Staff thanks Jeremy Huffman (Michigan FVC) and Samantha Modreske for being their AgrAbility ambassadors at Easter Seals Walk With Me event! More


Health science interns with Missouri AgrAbility were hard at work this month assisting program staff with face-to-face AgrAbility onsite farmstead assessments, facilitating PhotoVoice programmatic evaluations and the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire with Clients, and developing three programmatic guide sheets.

Karen Funkenbusch completed a three week study abroad in Ireland.

Survivors of brain injury enjoyed a week of outdoor fun at the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Donald Danforth Jr. Wilderness Camp. More

The BIA-MO Networking Coffee for Professionals in St. Louis was attended by 15 professionals who provide services for survivors of brain injury. AgrAbility was one of the highlighted programs.


Emily Freudenburg attended a Lutheran Family Services online meeting about reaching out to veterans in the jail system to help them and to prevent them from returning to jail. More

Nebraska AgrAbility had a booth at the Sandhills Ranch Expo in Bassett, NE, on June 15th and 16th. More


Thirteen-year-old Jacob is going to be very busy farming this summer, now that he has a hand control conversion kit for the skid loader, and two sets of hand controls for the tractors on his family's Dairy farm. More


AgrAbility PA Project Assistant Abbie Spackman represented AgrAbility at the Farming for Success event held at the Penn State Southeast Agricultural Research & Extension Center on June 23, 2016. More

PA dairy farmJune was National Dairy Month!! AgrAbility PA staff often work with dairy farmers across the state. More

If you are on social media, AgrAbility PA would love your support! Search @AgrAbilityPA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!!


Battleground to Breaking Ground workshops were held in College Station, TX, on May 7, and in San Antonio on June 4th. Both workshops were held on working ranches and 96 people participated.


Dr. Michael Pate presented the poster Farm and Ranch Policy for Vocational Rehabilitation at the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH) annual conference June 26-30 in Lexington, Kentucky. More

In June, AgrAbility of Utah staff continued visits to Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) offices. More


One of AgrAbility Virginia's most valued partnerships is with the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (BFRCP). More

VermontBeekeeping poster

Vermont AgrAbility and the Farmer Veteran Coalition/Vermont are helping to host an organic beekeeping workshop July 16 and 17 from 9 AM-4 PM (see picture). This is the first of the summer workshops that Vermont AgrAbility is working on.


Abi & Rachel at FFA ConventionOn June 15, Abi and Rachel attended the career fair at the 2016 Wisconsin FFA Convention. FFA participants could answer trivia questions about the AgrAbility of Wisconsin program for "FFA bucks" to be used at the convention's silent auction. More

West Virginia

West Virginia State University combined several of its programs in early June to conduct field research while harvesting broccoli. These programs looked at broccoli production in a high tunnel, cold storage during harvest, and use of assistive technology. More

This year the annual ISASH (International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health) Conference was held in Lexington, Kentucky, June 26-30. WV AgrAbility staff attended this four-day training for the agricultural safety and health community. More

A West Virginia University Extension agent sought out the assistance of WV AgrAbility staff to conduct an assistive technology assessment and to make recommendations for one of their 4-H members who wanted to show pigs at the county fair. More

During the recent flooding in West Virginia, several AgrAbility clients were affected, displaced, and/or experienced a loss of livestock, hay, and produce. More

Staff continue to assist farmers find the needed resources for their livestock and assistive technology loans for individuals that have lost their technology.

West Virginia AgrAbility continues to provide information and resources to farmers requesting assistance. More

Staff Changes


David Cessna, who had been Colorado AgrAbility's manager, finally sought his much deserved retirement in May, and Kristi Esbenshade has now assumed the role of manager. She has enthusiastically jumped into the role and is seeking opportunities to join the team in the field to see first-hand what AgrAbility does.


KY AgrAbility announces the retirement of John Hancock, project director. After 33 years as head of the KY AgrAbility Project, John will be stepping down to take some time for himself. John will still be a consultant and educator for AgrAbility. Dr. Gary Palmer, University of Kentucky agriculture extension director assistant, will be the project director. Dr. Palmer has been involved with KY AgrAbility for many years and as head of the extension program makes sure KY AgrAbility is introduced to all Extension agents. John will still have access to his UK email for those wanting to communicate with him.


Judy Wood came to Michigan AgrAbility with her bags packed; that is, packed with experience and talent in organization and building database systems. Judy is a part time volunteer who is working to build a database, something she realized would be useful to the organization during her initial interview. More


Monica StrawnMonica is currently a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she is an undergraduate majoring in animal science. She hopes to go to the University of Missouri Veterinary School of Medicine to pursue her love for agriculture. Working with AgrAbility allows Monica more opportunities to see how agriculture differs and how it can be changed to really meet anyone's needs. Please welcome Monica Strawn. More

AgrAbility in the News

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Other News

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Upcoming Events

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Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,