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June 2017

National AgrAbility Project News

Portland, MaineSave the Date for NTW 2018!

The AgrAbility National Training Workshop is scheduled for Portland, Maine, March 19th-22nd, 2018. More

Cindy Chastain and Esme MandujanoNAP Veteran Outreach Coordinator Cindy Chastain and California SRAP Outreach Specialist Esmeralda Mandujano participated in the Farmer Veteran Coalition's "Empowering Women Veterans: Business, Agriculture and Well-Being Conference" in Santa Rosa, CA, May 3-5, 2017. More

AgrAbility Webinar Series: Preserving and Maximizing Vision: Low and High Tech Tools in Vision Rehabilitation. Click here to register today for Monday's webinar at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Visit for the archive of the May 22 all-staff meeting.

Ed Bell on tractor post-injuryAgrAbility Clients and FSA: In 1982, Ed Bell of Hagerstown, IN, was shot by an attacker, resulting in a spinal cord injury and paralysis just below his arms. His family was forced to sell their family farm. But Ed and his wife, Debbie, saw this as an opportunity to keep the family farm using a loan from the FSA. MoreCindy Chastain and Esme Mandujano

Toolbox Spotlight: The cordless drill-powered Quick-Cut Greens Harvester is designed to harvest over 150 pounds of salad greens an hour, without having to kneel or use a knife or scissors.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


CalAgrAbility staff at FVC's Empowering Women Veterans conferenceCalAgrAbility and National AgrAbility staffed a booth at the Empowering Women Veterans Conference in Santa Rosa, California. The conference included a beginning farmer track and an established farmer track. More

CalAgrAbility had a booth at the Veteran Outreach Workshop hosted by the USDA. MoreCalAgrAbility at the Health and Safety Fair

CalAgrAbility staff attended the first health and safety fair at the Woodland Farmers Market. More

CalAgrAbility joined regional Migrant Education and California Human Development staff for outreach at migrant housing centers around the Delta area. More

CalAgrAbility attended the XVII Binational Promotores Conference in San Francisco. Over 300 promotores from Colorado, Idaho, California, Mexico, and Guatemala attended the event. More


The Howard County Purdue Extension agriculture and natural resources educator, Paul Marcellino, invited Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, to present a workshop to the Howard County Master Gardeners titled "Gardening Tools for People with Disabilities or Those Who are Getting Older." More

Linda Tarr had an AgrAbility booth at the South-Central Indiana Garden and Home Expo hosted by the Lawrence County Master Gardeners.

Chuck Baldwin staffed an AgrAbility booth at the disABILITIES Expo in the Ft. Wayne, IN, War Memorial Coliseum on May 13. More


The Kentucky AgrAbility project is moving right along. Three people from the team will be attending the ISASH conference in Utah. Also in June is the National Extension Technology Conference in Savannah, Georgia. More

Preparations on the various accessible garden sites around the states are in full swing. More

The accessible garden at KSU has been refurbished with wheelchair-friendly ground surface and some new beds. This will provide an example of accessible gardening to all who come to the KSU Research and Demonstration Farm south of Frankfort, KY.

RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, will hold their conference in New Orleans, LA, June 26-30. The exhibit booth will be open on June 28th and 29th. A member of KY AgrAbility will be attending to answer question and learn about new technology.

KY State University's Third Thursday Program will be hosting its 20th Anniversary Workshop on July 20th. Approximately 1,200 are expected to attend the all-day event, starting at 9:00 a.m. and lasting through the evening meal. More

Also in July, KY AgrAbility will help host the KY Spinal Cord Congress Conference at Cardinal Hill on July 21st.

The ADED, Association for Driving Rehabilitation Specialists, conference will take place in Albuquerque, NM on July 29th through July 31st. KY AgrAbility will have an exhibit booth at this event to introduce the specialist to the challenges facing farm machinery operators when they have a disability.

KY AgrAbility will be helping with the National AgrAbility exhibit at the National Amputee Coalition meeting in Louisville, KY, in early August.

The KY Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network (KARRN) conference will be held in Richmond, KY, on the Eastern KY University campus on August 29th. KARRN is one of KY AgrAbility's partners and a big help in getting information about AgrAbility to the south-eastern and mountain area of Kentucky.

This summer, KY AgrAbility is developing new videos, updating all social media forums, and visiting their clients. They are coming up on the 25th anniversary of AgrAbility in Kentucky and are proud to be a part of such a great organization that has impacted the farmers with disabilities in Kentucky.

New partnerships with the veteran organizations in Kentucky continue to grow, and the KY Department of Agriculture has been a great help in getting the goals and stories about AgrAbility to the farming communities.


Richard Brzozowski teaching at ME tractor driving evaluation eventRichard Brzozowski discussed the "10 Commandments of Tractor Safety" with 11 FFA members from northern Maine at a tractor driving evaluations event. Lani Carlson also discussed hearing protection and noise induced hearing loss with the students. Hearing protection and AgrAbility safety cards were passed out.

Loggers Expo in Bangor, MaineLani Carlson attended the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Exposition, known as the Loggers' Expo, the forest products industry tradeshow in Bangor, Maine. More

Accessible strawberries in a crateWanda Caron, AgrAbility COTA of Alpha One, continued to meet with her peer support groups to explore vertical growing possibilities. The strawberries in a crate are beginning to take root, and their new location makes them accessible by wheelchair.

MichiganMichigan Tri-Town 4H

Michigan AgrAbility is blessed to have the support of Tri-Town 4H - the Clover Classic, held at the Branch County Fairgrounds again generously supported Michigan AgrAbility!

Vegetable harvest and planting cartTake a look at a vegetable harvest and planting cart for the client who cannot crawl. Seat lowers to 10" high, and has powered raising. All-terrain and only 26" wide to fit between rows. All-electric drive. See the Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page for more photos.


Karen Funkenbusch was been invited to speak about TBI and adaption to farming and ranching techniques at the 2017 Missouri Rural Health Conference, August 15-17, 2017, at The Lodge at Old Kinderhook, in Camdenton, Missouri. More

Maureen Cunningham with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) hosted an exhibit at the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, for Trauma Awareness Week. More

More than 150 rehabilitation professionals learned about the Missouri AgrAbility Project during the Missouri Rehabilitation Association Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks through the exhibit booth managed by the Brain Injury Association of Missouri. More

Kelly Cochran incorporated education about the culture of agriculture, farm values, effective communication techniques with farmers/ranchers, and the resources of Missouri AgrAbility Project, into a "special populations" lecture for first-year student pharmacists. More

Kelly Cochran, was invited to present at the upcoming Missouri Rural Health Association about the role of pharmacists as a resource in rural communities.

North Carolina

NCAP staff at AgrAbility PA trainingNC AgrAbility Partnership received training from AgrAbility PA in May. More

North Carolina A & T State University is holding the Small Farm Field Day on June 15, 2017, at A&T University farm from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. More


Nebraska AgrAbility's Rod and EmilyNebraska AgrAbility rehabilitation specialists Rod and Emily presented a program at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, for social workers, therapists, and case workers. More

Rod and Emily attended the Easterseals staff appreciation luncheon in Omaha. Rod was honored for working with AgrAbility and Easterseals for 15 years.

The Nebraska AgrAbility staff met via Zoom to discuss several programs and to make summer plans for promoting the program. Electronic meetings will be held monthly to keep all staff up-to-date.

Emily attended a Social Security work incentives and PASS workshop in Omaha. This workshop increased her ability to help clients with these benefits. She also learned more about both programs.


Ohio AgrAbility Peer Network member Clarence donating manual livestock tilt tableOhio AgrAbility Peer Network member Clarence paid it forward this month when he donated a manual livestock tilt table to Reinhold, another OAP member. More

Randy Joseph continues to develop OAP's close working relationship with the Ohio vocational rehabilitation services agency, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). More

OAP staff are already planning workshops and exhibits for the Farm Science Review (FSR) in September. More


PA dairy farmer demonstrating automatic detachersAgrAbility PA staff enjoyed hosting NC AgrAbility staff for a farm assessment learning session! More

AgrAbility PA joined the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) at their annual press conference at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg. More

AgrAbility PA staff spent time meeting with state legislators and their executive staff in Harrisburg to educate and inform them about AgrAbility PA, who it serves, and how it can be a resource for farmers and agricultural workers in their districts. More

AgrAbility PA completed two mailings this spring: printed newsletter Field Notes to more than 2,000 addresses across the state and a 500+ mailing of AgrAbility: 25 Years, 25 Stories with accompanying letter to state FFA chapters, agricultural educators in all high schools, Penn State Extension offices, and to state and federal legislators.

TennesseeTLC Trotting Like Champions FUN Walk

TLC Trotting Like Champions 5K/1 mi FUN Walk held its 3rd Gypsy Vanner horseannual event in May. More

You can help win a Gypsy Vanner for TLC Riding Academy, Inc. More

TN's Haywood County Progressive Farm Safety Day for 5th gradersHaywood County Progressive Farm Safety Day was held for 5th graders. There were 264 students in attendance. More


Texas AgrAbility has been very productive during the month of May. The Killeen workshop at Central Texas College was hosted on May 20. There were 52 participants in attendance, and 92% of those were veteran and veteran family members. More

Online coursework began May 15 for the Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project. More


VT AgrAbility client's New Holland tractorThe Vermont Medical Center recently contacted Vermont AgrAbility for help with a 54-year-old veteran that was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. More


AgrAbility of WI's Emily Matzke at Rural Safety DaysAgrAbility of WI's program assistant, Emily Matzke, headed to the Kewaunee County Rural Safety Days on May 25th to teach area third graders about the AgrAbility Project, introduce them to several farmers AgrAbility of WI worked with, and show them several adaptations that can be provided to farmers. More

West Virginia

Inetta Fluharty, WV AgrAbility Extension agent, provided disability awareness to 520 youth during the Wood and Tyler County Progressive Farm Safety Day. More

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

Staff Changes


Kate SmithPlease welcome Kate Smith to the agricultural engineering department where she will be working as a student paraprofessional with a focus on socially disadvantaged, Latino, women, and veteran farmers. She will be a junior at the University of Missouri. Born and raised as an Iowa native, Kate came to the university to continue her passion and run for Mizzou's track and cross-country team. Kate is currently working toward a health science major with the hopes of pursuing a career either as a physician's assistant or a sports psychologist. Coupled with her experiences thus far as a student athlete, Kate, who is bilingual, hopes to bring her interest of health and the human body to leave a lasting impact as a paraprofessional. She hopes to discover ways to better implement aspects of health by working with the farmers and ranchers of Missouri. Kate is looking forward to establishing relationships with the team of students and professionals while learning more about the integration between health science and agriculture.

Kayla FunkenbuschPlease welcome back Kayla Funkenbusch who will assist agricultural systems management professors in developing and update online courses and specialized online formats for the Missouri AgrAbility program as a student paraprofessional. Kayla will be a junior health science student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She intends to pursue a career in the field of health science to help farms around the world have a safer and more effective enterprise. Growing up, she has been a part of health, safety, and wellness programs at the University of Missouri by discussing and demonstrating at county fairs and the Missouri State Fair, as well as attending and presenting technical posters at AgrAbility, ISASH, and ASABE conferences.


Melba BrownHappy Retirement, Melba!
AgrAbility of Wisconsin recently said farewell to a longtime partner and friend of AgrAbility, an employee of Easter Seals. Melba Brown's background as the wife of a dairy farmer helped her understand the challenges of farm life and appreciate farmers' commitment to their profession. As the FARM office coordinator & technical assistant, she coordinated referrals, prepared training curriculum and materials, developed and maintained the electronic resource library, assisted in marketing and outreach, coordinated services with community organizations, and maintained client records and the client database. Melba was an employee of Easter seals since 2006. She has brought laughter and encouragement in any challenges that the Wisconsin team has faced. We appreciate all that Melba has done for our program, and we wish her the best in her retirement. We will miss you, Melba!

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Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,