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December 2016

National AgrAbility Project News

Knoxville, TNSave the Date!
The 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop will be held March 20-23, 2017. Conference headquarters will be the Holiday Inn World's Fair Park located in downtown Knoxville. More

AgrAbility Virtual National Training Workshop, February 21-23. Join us for six webinars related to disability in agriculture. Details coming soon.

AgrAbility Webinar Series: the webinar New Ideas in Rural and Farm Assistive Technology is now archived at

The text of the AgrAbility/Arthritis Foundation booklet, Arthritis and Gardening, has been translated into Spanish and is available online at this link.

Opportunity for SRAP clients: Do any AgrAbility clientele produce products that the NAP might consider purchasing (through non-AgrAbility funds) as gifts for speakers, banquet favors, etc.? If so, please contact Paul Jones.

NAP booth at National FFA ConventionThe National AgrAbility Project partnered with several ag health and safety groups including the AgriSafe Network, Ohio State grain safety, and Penn State safety program, for an exhibit at the National FFA Convention. More

Paul Jones teaching Alcorn State AgrAbility workshopPaul Jones, NAP project manager, and Chuck Baldwin, NAP's special populations outreach coordinator, helped teach and facilitate the Alcorn State University 1890s AgrAbility Workshop held at Alcorn's Lorman, MS, campus September 12-13. More

An AgrAbility workshop focused on the 1890 land grant institutions was held at Florida A&M University (FAMU) November 30-December 1. MoreWheelchair with wheelblades attached

Toolbox Spotlight: Wheelchair Wheelblades are essentially small skis that attach to the front caster wheels to improve the chair's mobility over snow and ice. The product has a wide contact surface that reportedly distributes the driver's pressure evenly and prevents the wheels from sinking into the snow or slush.

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

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility conducted outreach at the Ability Resource Fair & Assistive Technology Expo at the Modesto Centre Plaza. More

CalAgrAbility AT workshop and Ned StollerCalAgrAbility and Ned Stoller presented at the Ability Tools Southern California In-Person Training in October. More

Latino Farmer Conference in Monterey, CACalAgrAbility attended the 2nd Annual Latino Farmer Conference in Monterey. Among the 285 registered farmers attending the conference was a CalAgrAbility consumer. More

CalAgrAbility participated in the National Rural Health Day celebrations on November 17th. Staff sent out a mass mailing recognizing the date, participated in a Twitter campaign, and participated in the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health webinar series.

CalAgrAbility sent out their quarterly email bulletin featuring a FactAct on ergonomics and farming as well as highlighting October as the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (#InclusionWorks). More

CalAgrAbility and Ability Tools staff joined the All-Staff Meeting on November 29.


Volunteer workday for GA AgrAbility clientsStaff and community volunteers conducted volunteer workdays for two farmer clients. More

12th Annual World Safety Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety in Tampere, FinlandStaff attended and presented at the 12th Annual World Safety Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion held in Tampere, Finland. An international audience learned about AgrAbility and different accommodations available. Over 3,000 people attended the conference.

GA AgrAbility and Life Essentials at Sunbelt Ag Expo in Maultrie, GAStaff attended the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, Georgia. The Expo is one of the largest agricultural events in the South. Georgia AgrAbility expanded its footprint this year with a 100-foot by 75-foot exhibit area. More

Staff made a presentation to a VFW post that had an interest in learning about AgrAbility and how they might become involved.

Two farmer clients received scholarships to attend the Georgia Farmers Market Association 1st Annual "Food for Thought" Conference on December 1-2, 2016.

Staff recently met with two senior design teams with the UGA College of Engineering for their first semester update report. Each team has a unique assistive technology design project that was assigned to them by AgrAbility of Georgia. They will complete the project design by end of the next semester.


Indiana AgrAbility partners Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana presented a two-day brain injury and resource facilitation conference. More

The Indiana AgrAbility Advisory Team met November 9 for its semiannual gathering. Representatives from such groups as VR, Farm Bureau, FFA, and Purdue Extension participated along with AgrAbility staff members and consultants.

Indiana AgrAbility exhibited at the annual Purdue Extension Professional Development Conference on campus in West Lafayette. The exhibit presented AgrAbility services and publications, including services for veterans.

Indiana AgrAbility Rural Rehabilitation Specialist Steve Swain presented AgrAbility and rural assistive technology to the North Montgomery High School ag mechanization class. More

Indiana AgrAbility is a partner with Purdue Extension on a USDA beginning farmer grant with AgrAbility focusing on beginning farmer veterans. More

On October 15th, 31 veterans, their family members, Purdue Extension staff, and AgrAbility staff, traveled to Ponderosa Aqua Farm in Spencer, IN. More

On November 5th, Indiana AgrAbility attended the Tippecanoe County Veteran Stand Down, a community outreach event where different county and community organizations come together to help homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. More

Linda Tarr, coordinator in Southern Indiana, participated in the Veteran Stand Down in Corydon. More


Kansas State University's Biosystems Engineering senior design capstone project for a Kansas AgrAbility customer was featured in the September/October 2016 special issue of Resource Magazine, a publication of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). More

Kansas AgrAbility staffed educational displays at the 3i Show (Kansas' largest outdoor farm show), the K-State Extension Annual Conference in October, and the Kansas Rural Center's Farm and Food Conference in November.


On November 12, 2016, Lani Carlson and Richard Brzozowski attended a day-long planning meeting for the newly formed United Farmer Veterans of Maine, which is a 501(c)19, a veteran operated non-profit with a mission to build a stronger community in Maine around veterans and their role in agriculture.

Before the 2016 NTW, Lani Carlson spoke with the Derek Volk radio show about AgrAbility. On November 26, 2016, this episode aired along with an interview from one of our AgrAbility client's family members.

Maine AgrAbility has finalized the LogAbility and FishAbility brochures, and has begun to adapt the website to include the resources for this subset of Maine agricultural workers.


Michigan AgrAbility has a new promotional video! They are thankful to both the Gallagher family and Michigan Farm Bureau, whose video expertise was so invaluable in the video production. The video can be watched here.

He can farm again!AgrAbility had a table at the UP State Fair Miracle of Life building in August. More

A common injury sustained by an individual working in agriculture is a knee injury. If a person has pain in their knees, there is something they can do! A new infographic developed by a Michigan AgrAbility volunteer has been posted on the Michigan AgrAbility web page. Check out the infographic here.

Michigan AgrAbility now has a new brochure! Staff appreciates the insight and helpful design suggestions offered by Michigan Farm Bureau's staff.


Kelly Cochran, PharmD, BCPS, presented a continuing education session titled: Pharm to Farm: Making Clinical Pharmacy Services Accessible to Missouri Farmers, on September 9th at the Missouri Pharmacy Association Annual Conference in Osage Beach, MO. More

Kelly Cochran presented an awareness session to University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy at MU students titled Pharm to Farm: Making Clinical Pharmacy Services Accessible to Missouri Farmers. More

Kelly Cochran presented a seminar session titled: Training Student Pharmacists to Become Partners in Agricultural Health and Safety at the Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety & Health Conference in Sioux Center, Iowa, on November 15, 2016. More

The Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) featured the Missouri AgrAbility Project as the rural track sponsor at our 12th Annual Statewide Professional Conference that was held October 13 -15, 2016, in St. Charles, Missouri. More

Maureen Cunningham of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri represented the Missouri AgrAbility Partnership at an exploratory meeting regarding an Amvets Career Center in Jefferson County, Missouri.

North Carolina

Beatriz Rodriguez, NC AgrAbility Partnership and Jessica Wilbiirn, NC Agromedicine Insitute at GREAT conferenceNC AgrAbility participated in the 5th annual Global Rehabilitation Enhanced with Assistive Technology (GREAT) Conference held on November 2 -4, 2016, in Asheville, NC. More


The Easter Seals Annual Retreat focused on Nebraska AgrAbility this year.

NE AgrAbility booth at Husker Harvests DaysNebraska AgrAbility had a booth at Husker Harvest Days. Emily and Susan educated those interested on slips and falls. Rod talked with the Nebraska governor about what AgrAbility does. Many potential clients were reached and many others learned about the program.

Emily set up a booth at Operation Engage America and talked about the AgrAbility program and how it can assist veterans. More

At the State Vocational Rehabilitation meeting, Emily learned what is happening in the VR world and made connection with the counselors that Nebraska AgrAbility uses with their clients.

Nebraska AgrAbility TeamThe Nebraska AgrAbility Team met for a day-long meeting to review their plan of work and to determine what they need to be doing for the next year. They will meet again as a smaller group in December to work on social media and marketing for Nebraska AgrAbility.

Rod attended the Gateway Expo in Kearney, reaching out to potential clients and others about AgrAbility Emily and Susan at AG-Ceptional Women's conferenceand how they work together to keep farmers and ranchers doing what they love.

The AG-Ceptional Women's Conference was held in Norfolk, Nebraska. More

OhioOhio AgrAbility display at Farm Science Review

Ohio AgrAbility Program staff, along with NAP staff member Shawn Ehlers, participated in the 2016 Farm Science Review September 20–22. More


AgrAbility PA staff have been busy this fall providing farm assessments, working with OVR, promoting a Bridging Horizons project, representing AgrAbility at events and publishing newsletters and client stories.

AgrAbility PA was represented at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Health and Safety Fair on November 15. The fair consisted of health screenings, safety resources, and education opportunities. Mr. Lifty was on hand to teach proper lifting techniques and assistive technology for farming was highlighted through AgrAbility pictures.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians booth at AT awareness day at Penn State DuBoisAgrAbility Project Assistant Abbie Spackman provided assistive technology information to occupational therapy students at Penn State DuBois during an assistive technology awareness day. More

John McConnell and Kendra Martin at Disability Awareness Day in Harrisburg, PAOn the legislative front, dozens of statewide organizations, non-profits, and departments gathered in Harrisburg, PA, at the Main Capitol Rotunda, on October 24, 2016, to participate in a Disability Awareness Day, organized by Pennsylvania State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia). More

October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. During the event, lawmakers could experience and learn about life as a person with disabilities. More


TN AgrAbility AgRUNAbility 5k/2-mile WALKThere was a different twist to the 2016 Tennessee AgrAbility AgRUNAbility 5k/2-mile WALK this year - it was only for UT TSU Extension staff across the state. More

Tennessee AgrAbility Project (TAP) is excited to be working with a new group, USO/RP-6. It is a pilot project in several states and TN is one. They work off-post with transitioning veterans. TAP is planning to work with them to introduce veterans to agriculture. Baccam and Charlie Jordon (in kilt)

Charley Jordan continues to work hard promoting FV in TN and representing TN at the FVC United We Farm Conference.

House on fire in TNDevastating fires spread across the Smoky Mountain area and tornadoes hit East TN. All AgrAbility staff members are fine. More

TAP Staff attended the annual TAAA&S (TN Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists) meeting. They toured the Seven Springs Farm to Table in Union County, TN. More

Other activities in which TN AgrAbility participated were: the Gibson County Master Beef; Dickson Co. Beef Field Day; Weakley County Ag Day for 4th graders (helmet demonstration); three-day safety expo for Calloway County; Murray Middle and High School students (disability awareness); More

TAP celebrated National Rural Health Day and the Power of Rural at the Rural Health Association of Tennessee, Inc. Conference. TN AgrAbility presented with ag nurse Dr. Deborah Reed, "Creative Approaches to Improve the Health of Farmers and Their Families in Tennessee". More

As Tennessee AgrAbility finishes reports for 2016, they are thankful and proud to work for a great organization. They believe in AgrAbility's mission and are giving hope. Hug a farmer and enjoy Christmas with all your loved ones. TN AgrAbility looks forward to seeing many AgrAbility personnel in TN in March, 2017, at the NTW!


Angela Moore, PVAMU - TX AgrAbility, presenting at workshopPrairie View A&M University (PVAMU) Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) conducted a series of workshops focused on socially-disadvantaged beginning farmers, ranchers, and veterans. The AgrAbility Project presentation was led by Angela L. Moore, extension associate with PVAMU CEP. More

Texas AgrAbility will be launching the Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project in Spring 2017. More

Sign up for our new Texas AgrAbility Newsletter email list here!


AgrAbility of Utah joined more than a dozen other service providers in an open house welcoming the Utah Assistive Technology Program's Uintah Basin lab. More

Staff participated in the fourth annual Assistive Technology Fair at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) on September 21. More

AgrAbility of Utah staffed a booth at the Utah Center for Assistive Technology Open House on October 13 in Salt Lake City. More

Darlene Carlisle and Connor Dyreng staffed a booth at the Utah Farm Bureau Annual Convention on November 17 in Layton, Utah. Farmers from throughout Utah were in attendance. More


AgrAbility Virginia is partnering with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition and other interested parties to establish a Farmer Veteran Coalition chapter in Virginia. The process is methodical and conscientious, so we don't expect the chapter to be in place until Spring of 2017 at the earliest.


Vermont AgrAbility continues to work without USDA funding. Vermont Center for Independent Living is funding the project through its 704 grant that allows VT AgrAbility to work with people with disabilities. This would include farmers, veterans, and anyone with a disability.

VT AgrAbility has just returned from the third Farmer Veteran Coalition Stakeholder's Conference in Lansing, Michigan, where they had the opportunity to thank the National AgrAbility Project for partnering with APRIL, a national independent living organization. More


AAW and Farm staffAgrAbility of Wisconsin hosted the 25 Year Celebration event on September 29th in Arlington, Wisconsin, to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and success achieved by the program and its clients. More


West Virginia

People First of West Virginia is a statewide network of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. West Virginia AgrAbility has identified individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a target group to explore agriculture as an option for supplementing their food budget and also for the possibility of starting an agribusiness. More

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

WV AgrAbility team members attended the National Small Farm conference in Virginia Beach, VA, September 19-22, 2016. West Virginia State University, West Virginia Assistive Technology Systems, and The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley were the partners represented. More

Disability awareness information was provided to 520 youth during the Mercer County Progressive Farm Safety Day. More

Individuals with disabilities and their families or caregivers gathered in Elkins, WV, seeking resources to assist with daily living, employment, and recreation. More

WV Farm Bureau Statewide Annual Meeting was held November 11-13, 2016. WV AgrAbility staffed an informational display using videos that highlight various agricultural assistive technologies. Demonstrations of ergonomic gardening tools and farm safety surveys were provided to attendees.

Staff Changes


Summer Spilman has joined Kansas AgrAbility as the assistive technology ag specialist based at the Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center in Parsons, Kansas.


Tia SchraderMichigan AgrAbility would like you to meet our new volunteer, Tia Schrader. Tia has a BS in exercise science and minor in psychology from Olivet Nazarene University. She was born and raised on a grain farm in Northeast Indiana and is a 2nd year DPT student at the University of Indianapolis. Upon graduation, she hopes to work with the geriatric population, teach at Western Michigan University, get a PhD, do research in physical therapy, and... continue to work with AgrAbility!


Please welcome Makenzie McLaurin to the Texas AgrAbility team. Makenzie is the new program coordinator for the Texas AgrAbility Project. Ms. McLaurin is a program coordinator for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. She graduated from Texas A&M University in May, 2016, with a degree in ag leadership and development. Makenzie has a background in production agriculture and has served as an intern with the Texas AgrAbility Project and as a mentor and instructor in a training program for individuals with disabilities. In her role with the Texas AgrAbility Project, she contributes her expertise by developing relationships with partners, developing educational programs and events, and facilitating relationships with clients. She also assists with farm assessments and client referrals and recommendations.

Erin Kimbrough will continue to serve as Texas AgrAbility program coordinator 25% of the time, but she will also be taking on her new role as program coordinator for the new Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project.

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

Click here for professional development events related to AgrAbility.

Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,