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September 2016


During summer 2016, Abby Yarick, Jamie Lister, John "Mac" McGinnis, and Kayla Funkenbusch completed their health science internship with Missouri AgrAbility. It was an active AgrAbility internship where University of Missouri health students assisted with onsite farmstead assessments, developed educational resource materials, conducted PhotoVoice and McGill Quality of Life research activities, presented programs, displayed at county fairs, and entered data. To learn about establishing an AgrAbility internship program with your AgrAbility program contact Karen Funkenbusch.

PhotoVoice of Missouri farmer and AgrAbility client Lee Howerton was showcased during Missouri State Fair. In Missouri, PhotoVoice provides AgrAbility farmers and ranchers with disabilities innovative participatory opportunities to speak out and be heard through photography and digital storytelling methods. These skills enable AgrAbility clients to represent themselves and create tools for advocacy and communication. Through this method, Missouri AgrAbility is able to deliver positive social change.

Rockhurst University occupational therapy and University of Missouri health science interns assisted Missouri AgrAbility staff at the 2016 Clifton City Forage Research Field Day. During the morning speaking sessions Karen Funkenbusch from Missouri AgrAbility presented four AgrAbility programs. The afternoon speaking sessions provided Kristyn Keith and Amelia Muir, Rockhurst University occupational therapy interns, an opportunity to present an hour-long AgrAbility Gardens for Everybody program, while Tony Mikus and Jamie Lister set up an AgrAbility informational display and disseminated resource materials.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch

Pharm to Farm, a program of Missouri AgrAbility Project partner the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy, provided outreach and rural wellness screenings at Greenley Research Center Field Day on August 8th. Twenty farmers and farm families were provided with Missouri AgrAbility Project and Pharm to Farm brochures. Wellness screenings including diabetes risk assessment, blood pressure/heart health, wrist bone density, and medication safety education, were provided for 24 attendees and farm families at a value of over $1200. Seven individuals had not followed with primary care and were referred, based on results, to seek care to ensure continued safety and wellness. Attendees were satisfied overall with the outreach and education provided, as 20 rated the experience as "Excellent" and 4 rated the experience as "Good."

Health screening at MO State FairFarmers and farm families at the Missouri State Fair were provided rural wellness screenings and safety information on Aug. 20th.Pharm to Farm & AgrAbility health screenings at MO State Fair Wellness screenings including diabetes risk assessment, blood pressure/heart health, wrist bone density, and medication safety education, were provided for 341 attendees and farm families at a value of over $5600. Forty farmers and farm families were provided with Missouri AgrAbility Project and Pharm to Farm brochures.

Submitted by Kelly Cochran

Carey Portell, Missouri AgrAbility advocate and client, presented during Monsanto's Business Resource Network (BRN) new staff orientation and training. It was an excellent opportunity for new senior leadership, from their CEO to the executive team and their direct reports, to learn about the AgrAbility program. The BRN network's mission is to further the professional development of their members so that they can make their fullest contribution to the achievement of our corporate goals and objectives. To help facilitate this and create dialogue between employees and senior management, all the networking groups have an executive team member as a sponsor.

Carey Portell sharing at MO Farmers Union AgrAbility conferenceMissouri Farmers Union hosted a free conference on the AgrAbility Project on Friday August 26, at the Holiday Inn in St. Joseph, Missouri. Carey Portell, an AgrAbility advocate and client from St. James, Missouri, was seriously injured when the car she was riding in was hit by a drunk driver. Carey shared the story of her injuries and how, thanks to AgrAbility, she has overcome them to continue caring for her family and the herd of beef cows she raises on 500 acres. She also discussed how AgrAbility is about more than major disabilities like the ones she had to overcome; AgrAbility also helps farmers, ranchers, and farm families with limited hearing or sight, or other age or occupational-related disabilities that can occur over a lifetime of farming. For returning servicemen and women involved in agriculture, help is also available for service related disabilities.

Submitted by Carey Portell

Missouri AgrAbility Project is where occupational therapy and health science students come to learn so they can teach others in rural communities.

Each semester, Missouri AgrAbility director Karen Funkenbusch works with up to four OT interns from the University of Missouri. Word spread to other universities and colleges that MU is the place to get practical, hands-on opportunities.

Kristyn Keith, OTS, Rockhurst UniversityRockhurst University occupational therapy students Kristyn Keith and Amelia Muir recently spent a whirlwind week learning about AgrAbility's Gardens for Every Body program. Funkenbusch gave them information, tips and tricks to help gardeners of all types continue to garden. By week's end, they presented a PowerPoint presentation and created a booklet they gave to farmers, agribusiness leaders, and educators at MU Extension's Clifton City Research Field Day.

Amelia Muir, OTS, Rockhurst UniversityKeith and Muir plan to live in rural communities and work with farmers when they complete their occupational therapy degrees. They will take practical skills and lessons learned during their MU experience to serve farmers and ranchers with disabilities and/or chronic diseases. To learn more about Gardens for Every Body, go to

Submitted by Linda Geist