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May 2017

National AgrAbility Project News

AgrAbility All-Staff Meeting on Monday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Check your email soon for details. We will use a different URL than in the past in order to reduce background noise.

The National AgrAbility Project Advisory Team is scheduled to meet in Indianapolis on May 24-25. Topics will include fiscal sustainability, evaluation, outreach to special populations, and more. If you have a topic you would like the team to discuss, please contact Paul Jones by Friday, May 19.

The NAP participated in a Skype call with faculty and students of the University of São Paulo in Brazil on April 27. One outcome of the call is that the NAP website now has an option for translation into more than 100 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.

Charley Jordon - Homegrown By HeroesAgrAbility Clients and FSA: In 2011, Charley Jordan, an AgrAbility client and veteran, successfully applied for, and attained, a farm ownership loan with FSA. This loan allowed him to purchase 20 acres and start raising longhorn cattle. More

Maine peer group photoToolbox Spotlight: ErgoMates Anti-Fatigue Overshoes are designed to minimize impact shock, pain, and fatigue for those who have to stand or walk for extended periods of time on hard surfaces. Strapped over the worker's footwear (including work boots), these overshoes have a flexible, slip-resistant, two-ply soles that absorb shock and reduce fatigue.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility staffed a booth at the Veteran Career Fair at Cal State Fresno, hosted by the Farmer Veteran Coalition. More

CalAgrAbility continues to lend agricultural AT through the Ability Tools AT Exchange Lending Library. More

CalAgrAbility participated in the Biological and Agricultural Department Picnic Day activities. Staff spoke to the public and graduate students of the department about CalAgrAbility services and activities. The program's display shared a table with the work of Professor Stavros Vougioukas and his team.

CalAgrAbility sent out the CalAgrAbility Quarterly. Highlights included staff participation at the AgrAbility National Training Workshop in Tennessee, outreach summaries, a FactAct on AT, and more. You can access the full text here.

CalAgrAbility has conducted outreach at three local migrant centers in two counties. This year the migrant centers are seeing a record number of families coming to the area to work. More


The Illinois AgrAbility Unlimited program received notification of two significant contributions to the AgrAbility program from GROWMARK and 1st Farm Credit Services. More

The Illinois AgrAbility program advisory committee recently met to review the progress of new initiatives. More


Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, presented a workshop to the members of the Winamac Garden Club titled "Gardening Tools for People with Disabilities or Those Who are Getting Older." The presentation provided information about garden accessibility and tools to make gardening easier and safer.

Linda Tarr did a presentation for 5th and 6th graders at Graham Creek Elementary School in Commiskey on AgrAbility and assistive technology.


Kansas AgrAbility showed the video The Next Mission to 50 transitioning soldiers, veterans, and farmers during a farm tour on March 31.

Kansas AgrAbility presented at the Agriculture Appreciation Day event at Fort Riley on March 29.


The days are longer and the sun is making an appearance more often. Does that mean spring is finally here? This means more demand for AgrAbility in Kentucky. The staff can meet with farmers and get a better idea of the things that are needed to keep their farms productive.

Mike Lewis, new project manager, is meeting with the local leaders to promote an accessible aquaponics endeavor in southern Kentucky. This looks to become a great place for AgrAbility to showcase an alternative type of agriculture to farmers with a disability.

The month of May will see KY AgrAbility staff meeting with the KY commissioner of agriculture, Ryan Quarles, to discuss ways to help farmers with disabilities remain active and productive on the farm while staying safe. More

Also in May, the staff will be at KY State University working on the accessible garden project at the Research and Demonstration Farm and at the Easter Seals facility at Cardinal Hill, helping with the accessible garden for disabled children and adults. More

KY AgrAbility will be attending ISASH at the end of June in Logan, Utah. The information that is shared by the different countries attending, along with the states that come, give the staff a chance to exchange ideas on safe work practices and injury prevention.

The main event for July for the KY Staff and its partner, KY State University, will occur at the 20th Anniversary of the Third Thursday Thing on July 20th. More

September Third Thursday Thing is always a crowd-pleasing event, as that is when the pawpaws are harvested and the lunch includes some of this regionally grown fruit. Come for the pawpaw ice cream if you are in town on September 21st.

As school gets ready to start, KY AgrAbility will be attending the National Amputee Coalition Conference in Louisville. Staff will help host a display with the National AgrAbility Project. More

Summer is always crowded with county Safety Days, county fairs, client visits, expos, and meetings. The KY staff will be spreading out across the state to meet one-on-one with their partners and clients. Have a safe and fun Memorial Day.


Maine AgrAbility's Ellen Gibson presentingMaine AgrAbility Specialist Ellen Gibson presented two workshops on assistive technology for gardeners; on April 11, she presented "Gardening Forever" to a group of Franklin County gardeners; and again, on April 20, to a group of Piscataquis County master gardener volunteers.

Lani Carlson shared universal design concepts and ideas at the Cooperative Extension Fruit and Vegetable School workshops in Bangor and Portland on March 27 and 30. MoreMaine peer group photo

Maine AgrAbility Specialist Wanda Caron, COTA, talked about hydroponic growing to one of her peer support groups on April 6. More

Lani Carlson and others with boat "Sunbeam"Project Coordinator Lani Carlson traveled to three island communities with the Maine Seacoast Mission Network crew aboard the Sunbeam. During the trip, universal design concepts were discussed with lobstermen and their sternmen. More

On April 27, AgrAbility Specialist Ketra Crosson, OTP, and Ellen Gibson presented a webinar titled "Universal Design on the Farm: Planning for Safety, Efficiency, and Independence." This recording is available by clicking here.


Gary holding goatAfter his stroke in October of 2008, Gary Glownia was not expected to ever walk, talk, use his right arm, or swallow and eat without a feeding tube. More

Shannon KortmanShannon Kortman is dependent upon a wheelchair due to spina bifida caused by maternal drug abuse while in utero. This caused paralysis from the waist down, but that has not stopped Shannon! More

The Michigan Safety Conference was held in Novi, MI, in April at the Suburban Collection Showplace. More


All MN AgrAbility (MAP) staff members are busy in the fields. They are in the middle of a large fundraising campaign to raise money for low interest loan funds to provide their members with much needed equipment. More


Power Up 2017 Assistive Technology Conference and Expo was hosted April 2 - 4, 2017, in Columbia, Missouri. More

The Missouri AgrAbility Project was featured at the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Survivor and Family Seminars in western Missouri with Jenna Wilkins of Lincoln University leading seminar attendees in "Planting with a Purpose" activities. More

The Brain Injury Fact of the Day media campaign conducted by the Missouri AgrAbility Project continues to increase awareness about farming and ranching for individuals with brain injury and other disabilities. More

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility at Greening Up the Mountains FestivalDuring the month of April, NC AgrAbility reached out to the community in western North Carolina through the Greening Up the Mountains Festival, which is an event initially rooted as an earth day celebration. It was celebrated on April 22nd in the city of Sylva. More

NC AgrAbility booth atIredell County Garden FairOn April 29, the Iredell County Garden Fair was the opportunity to reach out to farmers, ranchers, gardeners, and master gardeners who had the chance to learn ways to make gardening easier and to make the time in the garden more enjoyable. More


Dr. Christine Hutchinson, PT, DPT, presenting at OT/PT workshopNebraska AgrAbility hosted its annual workshop for occupational and physical therapists and assistants in Norfolk, Nebraska, on April 26. Ten attended the full-day workshop and received AOTA approved .8 CEU or 8 contact hours. More

The Nebraska AgrAbility staff, including Easterseals Nebraska and Nebraska Extension staff, have made a commitment to meet electronically once a month to share ideas and AgrAbility successes and concerns. is the Nebraska AgrAbility website and Nebraska staff are working to update it and are in the process of having templates developed so the information on the website is easily updated and current. This project should be completed no later than July 1, 2017.

Taylor Delp is currently working with Nebraska AgrAbility as part of her 16 rotation to become an occupational therapist. In this role, she created a brochure about low vision, and she attended the National Training and OT/PT workshops. In addition, she went on the farm visit with the rehabilitation specialists.


Ohio AgrAbility (OAP) hosted two Peer-to-Peer workshops in April. OAP staff presented information on new assistive technology, how to create an emergency action plan for home and farm, and considering obstacles and dangers specific to living with a disability. More

April was a busy month for trainings and workshops in Ohio! Rural Rehabilitation Coordinator Charlie Landis spoke to a group of Farm Service Agency managers about Ohio AgrAbility; the managers were familiar with the program, and requested posters and handouts to promote OAP to their farmers.

Rural Rehabilitation Coordinator Randy Joseph and Disability Services Coordinator Laura Akgerman spoke to Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (Ohio's Vocational Rehabilitation service) counselors and supervisors about Ohio AgrAbility, and how OAP works with OOD to serve farmers in Ohio. More

University of Dayton engineering students with modified shovelFor several years, Ohio AgrAbility Networking Coordinator Kent McGuire has been working with an innovative engineering class at the University of Dayton on engineering projects specific to AgrAbility. More

Disability Services Coordinator Laura Akgerman attended "The Opioid Crisis in Ohio: Seeking New Solutions from the Community" training and advocacy event at the Ohio Statehouse. More


PA Bridging Horizons Contest winners at therapeutic riding facilityAgrAbility Pennsylvania's inaugural Bridging Horizons Contest concluded this spring with two winners! The contest provided an opportunity for Pennsylvania FFA Association chapters to make a positive impact in their community by enhancing Paws and Affection service dog trainingindependence and/or promoting success for farmers with disabilities. More

Paws & Affection, an organization that trains service dogs, posted pictures and educational information to the AgrAbility PA Instagram for a week. More


Tennessee AgrAbility (TNAP) enjoyed Easter with their families and are loving spring!

TNAP attended several meetings revisiting how to promote AgrAbility to new staff and especially with students and rehabilitation professionals like OTs, PTs, and social workers. Plans for future workshops are in the works. TNAP is open to suggestions on what works in your state.

TNAP is proud of their friend Stephanie Trost giving back again through Yellow Ribbon Fund helping caregivers. She spreads word about AgrAbility as well. See a great article on Stephanie and her work with the Yellow Ribbon Fund here.

TNAP was seen exhibiting at the Southeast Beef Summit in Athens, TN. There were over 250 cattle producers in attendance.

TexasTX Earth Day seed planting

Texas AgrAbility attended Earth Day Texas, the largest Earth Day gathering in the world. Team members Erin and Makenzie ran the Texas AgrAbility booth and a seed planting activity.Battleground to Breaking Ground seedplanting veterans

The Battleground to Breaking Ground Launch Event was Friday, April 28, at Millican Reserve. There were around 70 people in attendance, with over 80% of those being veterans. More

College Station workshop in TXThe Battleground to Breaking Ground Ag Workshop was held Saturday, April 29. There were 45 new and beginning farmers and ranchers in attendance. Topics covered were rural business ideas, Texas AgrAbility, Farmer Veteran Coalition, business planning basics, and a funding opportunities panel. More


AgrAbility of Utah sponsored booths at the Utah/Arizona Range Livestock Workshops, April 4 in Hurricane, Utah, and April 5 in Orderville, Utah. More


AgrAbility Virginia is pleased to announce the hiring of Jim Sheppard as the new service coordinator for the eastern part of Virginia. Jim comes to us with 40 years of experience in agriculture with the USDA, Farm Service Agency, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.


VT AgrAbility client LeslieVermont AgrAbility continues to be very proud of their peer-to-peer program: peers supporting other peers that have experienced the same type of disabilities. One of those is Leslie, who at the age of 76, continues to supervise his 65-head Holstein milking herd. More

West VirginiaWV Beef Expo and Stockman's Contest

Inetta Fluharty, WV AgrAbility program specialist, attended the 2017 WV Beef Expo and Stockman's Contest April 6-8, 2017. More

Chicken StuThe 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. More

Inetta Fluharty provided disability awareness information to 420 youth during the Summers and Tucker County Progressive Farm Safety Day. More

WV Grow Your Garden Spring ClinicDuring 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". More

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. More

Staff Changes


Congratulations to our CEO, Carol Fury, who was elected Wright County President for the Minnesota Farmers Union. With her drive and ambition she will assist the organization in increasing membership and participation in Wright County.

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility welcomes Chuck Oaks, advocacy and transition coordinator, Disability Partners Center for Independent Living. He holds a bachelor's degree in human services. He has been serving people with disabilities for several years by supporting their personal choices, independent living, and community inclusion. Chuck will help coordinate efforts to reach out to the farming community in the area to help enhance the lives of farmers dealing with disabilities.


Stacey Murnighan joined Easter Seals Wisconsin, a partner in the AgrAbility of Wisconsin, as director of marketing and communications, bringing with her over nine years of marketing and graphic design experience. Stacey is excited to join the Easter Seals Wisconsin team and learn more about the programs and people they serve. "I have a passion for serving the community and have many years of volunteer experience, as well as building programs at a local level. There's no better feeling than giving back, and I believe, in this position with Easter Seals Wisconsin, I'll be doing just that." Stacey and her husband, Bill, moved to Madison from Lexington, Kentucky, in 2015.

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,