Inetta Fluharty, WV AgrAbility program specialist, attended the 2017 WV Beef Expo and Stockman's Contest April 6-8, 2017. Inetta spoke to FFA members, 4-Her's, and livestock producers from around the state, about assistive technology to assist in agricultural production. Demonstrations of quick-hitch systems, bale wagons, and drive-through gates were highlighted during the breaks of the competition. Specific information was shared with FFA and 4-H members about farm safety and age-appropriate tasks on the farm. For more information, click here.
The fourth annual WV Urban Ag Conference was held at Camp Virgil Tate on April 28-29, 2017. Food is the tie that binds us together, and this conference provided the opportunity to be more resilient and sustainable even if the production is in an urban area. Inetta Fluharty presented a session to 12 producers on "Ergonomics: Work Smarter - Not Harder", and provided information to the 150 conference attendees at the AgrAbility information booth. Fluharty also provided a demonstration of accessible gardening techniques and ergonomic tools to make an accessible garden in an urban setting. Chicken Stu, the spokes-chicken for the conference, enjoyed sitting on a gardening scoot at the AgrAbility booth. Farming: it's so citified! Click here for further information.
Inetta Fluharty provided disability awareness information to 420 youth during the Summers and Tucker County Progressive Farm Safety Day. Fluharty discussed people first language, explained why "handicapped" should not be used to describe a person with a disability, and had the students imagine what it would be like to try and build a house using only a screwdriver - which is what it would be like for an individual with a disability if they did not have specific assistive technology. Then students participated in a "hands-on" activity where they tried to guess various types of assistive technology and what disability it would assist. Students were also asked whether an individual with paraplegia could be a teacher, play sports, go to the movies, or be a farmer, and then asked what special "tools" each profession would need to be successful. To see more, click here.
During the first annual Grow Your Garden Spring Clinic hosted by the Marion County Master Gardeners and WVU Extension Services, WV AgrAbility provided an educational session called "Gardening with Physical Limitations". Other educational classes held throughout the day including growing various plant varieties that are local, and good verses bad bugs/animals and how to manage them. Vendors were available and had items such as plants, soaps, garden crafts, maple syrup, locally produced jellies, and much more for purchase. WV AgrAbility also had an informational display highlighting various gardening tools and encouraged participants to try various tools to see which ones they felt would work best for them.
West Virginia AgrAbility continues to provide information and resources to farmers requesting assistance. During the month of April, West Virginia State University Extension agent Inetta Fluharty conducted two farm site assessments and is working with the farmers on securing funding for the needed agricultural modifications. Additional advocacy in accessing services from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services was provided to a farmer.
Submitted by Inetta Fluharty