AgrAbility eNote banner
March 2017


Penn State students in agricultural fraternities, a sorority, and several clubs, held a fundraising drive and dinner at University Park that raised nearly $1,000 for a farmer with a disability. Kyle, a young beef farmer in northern Pennsylvania, sustained an injury from a PTO entanglement. Since the incident, he has been working hard to regain his ability to work on the family farm using a prosthetic leg. AgrAbility PA began working with Kyle to help him safely and productively overcome obstacles he faces on the farm. The funds raised will be put toward the purchase of accessible tractor steps and automatic gates. These devices will reduce the repetitive, strenuous movements on his leg and make it easier for him to move around his farm.

AgrAbility PA boothAgrAbility PA staff participated in the 26th Annual Farming for the Future Conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). This was an excellent opportunity to share AgrAbility information with farmers and educators, and to network with other exhibitors. AgrAbility staff concentrated on the idea that their services and assistive technology are a key part of the future of agriculture and sustainability. Staff also emphasized information on proper lifting techniques and using the proper tools for the job.

AgrAbility PA staff met with orchard growers at the 2017 Adam's County Grower Meeting hosted by Penn State Extension. This event is attended by owners of some of Pennsylvania's largest orchards, owners of packing and processing facilities, small orchards, and employees. Project Assistant Abbie Spackman provided information on AgrAbility services and assistive technology. She spoke with growers to learn about the most common injuries found in their occupation. Many growers shared that back injuries, fall incidents, and hand injuries were the most common factors leading to functional limitations. A large percentage of the attendees were Hispanic or Latino. Training sessions where offered in Spanish and AgrAbility PA offered arthritis information in Spanish.

AgrAbility PA staff also made the rounds at many of Penn State Extension's Dairy and Crop Day events throughout the state. It is a great time of year to meet with farmers and their families at these events to share resources and information about how AgrAbility can make a positive impact in their working life. These events are divided up by county, allowing for a lot of one-on-one conversations and the time to address specific and time-sensitive concerns in advance of the next season.

Submitted by Abbie Spackman