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May 2018

National AgrAbility Project News

Join the AgrAbility All-Staff Meeting today, May 15 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Topics include an update from USDA/NIFA, plans for an upcoming AgrAbility video, demographic data collection highlights and issues, and the Virginia Tech/Virginia AgrAbility NSFgrant projects. Call-in details have already been emailed.

Darlene Carlisle talking with attendees at the AgrAbility AOTA exhibit.AgrAbility was represented at the 2018 AOTA Annual Conference & Expo, April 19 - 22 in Salt Lake City, Utah, by Danyele Clingan, NAP OT intern, and Darlene Carlisle of AgrAbility of Utah. Special thanks to Utah's team for their support and assistance with this event.

April 18, Chuck Baldwin, NAP's demographics coordinator, led an interactive AgrAbility demographics reporting webinar with the technical assistance of Paul Jones, NAP's project manager. More

Cover image of new Plowshares report.The latest Plowshares Technical Report, "Lighting for Farmsteads and Self-propelled Agricultural Machinery," is available online at Topic areas include types of lighting, characteristics of lights, where to position lights, and lighting for field equipment.

The 2018 AgrAbility Harvest has been published in accessible PDF format, and is available at Please feel free to post this to your websites and distribute it via email. Printed copies should be arriving soon.

The AgrAbility webinar "Occupational Therapy’s Role in Agriculture and Rural Communities" is now archived at

Man sitting in Ring-Co TUC Tracked Utility Chair Toolbox Spotlight: The gas-powered, all-terrain Ring-Co TUC Tracked Utility Chair is a combination wheelchair, UTV, and compact utility tractor that's designed for work and recreation. Its 23-hp, air-cooled engine and hydraulic drive-train reportedly generate speeds up to 7 mph and boasts a towing capacity of over 4,000 lbs. 

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


UC Davis Picnic DayCalifornia AgrAbility and Dr. Fathallah's lab participated at the UC Davis Picnic Day with an interactive display looking at pressure points while sitting for prolonged periods of time. MoreBinational Promotores Conference

California AgrAbility staff attended the XVII Annual Binational Promotores Conference. More

California AgrAbility was present at the 2018 Yolo County Housing Migrant Center Opening Days. Migrant Centers in Davis, Madison, and Dixon opened for the agricultural season. More

CalAgrAbility, in partnership with the UC Davis Clinica Tepati (student run clinic), finalized the "Get Moving: It's TeParti Time Leader Manual." More

CalAgrAbility sent out their CalAgrAbility Quarterly; to access it click here.


The month of April was spent mostly working on writing the next cycle's AgrAbility grant proposal.

The Colorado AgrAbility Project (CAP) was contacted by Craig Hospital with
reference to an individual who had sustained a workplace TBI. More

CAP staff spent the rest of the month traveling the state performing AT assessments. They worked with a number of vets, as their DMVA grant for AT funding for vets is winding down and they needed to spend the remaining funds.


Jobs Fair in Atlanta, GAOn April 13th, Georgia AgrAbility staff had a booth at Georgia Congressman David Scott's 15th Annual Jobs Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. Staff shared about AgrAbility and careers available in agriculture. Over 145 people stopped by the booth.

Growing Organic Produce workshop - GA AgrAbilityOn April 17-18, Georgia AgrAbility sponsored a workshop titled, "Growing Organic Produce." It was a two-day workshop held at UGA's Tifton campus. More

Tractor 101 workshop 1On April 26th, Georgia AgrAbility sponsored a workshop titled, "Tractors 101." It was held at UGA's Tifton campus. The workshop was taught by Georgia AgrAbility staff. University of GA Senior Design Showcase studentsThe workshop focused on the teaching of tractor and equipment safety. More

On April 30th, the University of Georgia College of Engineering hosted their Senior Design Showcase. More


The AgrAbility Illinois team is actively working to redesign the organization's branding to develop a mature and modern look to help grow the organization's visibility and online audience. More

The IL staff is also working on new ways to cultivate Ambassador involvement to help these volunteers more actively share the services AgrAbility provides to the community. More


Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist Steve Swain moderated two roundtable discussions at the Health and Human Sciences Spring Training Update at the Beck Center on the Purdue Agronomy Farm. More

Mushroom cultivation workshop FVC of IndianaOn April 7th, 29 veterans and their families attended a mushroom cultivation workshop presented by the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Indiana and Indiana AgrAbility in North Salem, IN. More

In celebration of Disability Awareness Day, Indiana staff did a presentation on "Gardening for all Abilities" at the Lawrenceburg Public Library. More

IN staff also attended the Head Start health advisory meeting and conducted two client assessments.


Kansas AgrAbility AT Ag Specialist Summer Spilman participated in the "Aging with Attitude Regional Expo" in Iola, KS, on April 27. More


The Kentucky AgrAbility grant application has been written and submitted, so now it is back to work.

On April14th, KY AgrAbility hosted the "Cultivating Accessible Opportunities for Veterans in Agriculture: A Beginning Farmer Training" workshop at the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm. MoreKY AgrAbility at Eastern KY University Farm Day

KY AgrAbility participated in Eastern Kentucky University Farm Day in Richmond, KY on April 28th.

KY staff are helping to design two accessible garden spaces at local assisted living centers. More

KY Easter Seals Children's GardenEaster Seals Cardinal Hill, one of the KY nonprofit partners, sent an article for publication titled, "Taking on Disability Together". More

The summer is full of conferences: RESNA, ISASH, ADED, KARRN, and KY Rehab Association. More

Have a good month. Keeping fingers crossed for all that submitted grant proposals.


On Saturday, March 30, Ellen Gibson presented AgrAbility resources as part of an employee training at O'Donal's nursery and greenhouses. MoreDick Brzozowski at Maine OT Association conference

Project Director Richard Brzozowski exhibited at the spring Maine OT Association annual conference on April 7.

Maine AgrAbility specialist Ellen Gibson presented "Universal Design in the Garden" to a group of 30 people on April 5. More

Ellen Gibson also presented an adaptive gardening session at the Rural Living Day on April 7 in Thorndike. More

On April 17 and 19, Ellen shared AgrAbility resources with the Central Maine and Scarborough Garden clubs. She presented information about ergonomic tools and work simplification ideas for gardeners.

Project Coordinator Lani Carlson exhibited AgrAbility information at the Maine School Garden Network day on April 26. There were 85 attendees sharing ideas about children and agriculture.


Battery-operated prunerA Michigan AgrAbility client, who wanted to remain anonymous, wanted everyone to know how appreciative he was of the services he received from Ned Stoller. More

Minimizing the likelihood of an injury while traveling from field to field, using the public roads in their tractors or other agricultural vehicles, is always a challenge for Michigan farmers. More

Although a few years old, while searching for Michigan AgrAbility on the Internet, staff came across the Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) AgrAbility promotion brochure highlighting how MRS can augment Michigan AgrAbility services. More

Check out all the new pins on the Michigan AgrAbility Pinterest page!


Rehab tech/engineering consults (onsite farmstead assessments) with Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Rehab Services for the Blind took place this month with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Missouri AgrAbility staff jointly assisting AgrAbility clients.

To help celebrate 30 years of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program - and plan the next 30 years of productive and sustainable American agriculture - nearly 1,000 people gathered in St. Louis April 2-April 5. More

Survivors of brain injury continue to become aware of the Missouri AgrAbility Project during Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) support group meetings. More

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility at Transition FairOn April 18, 2018, NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the Union County's Twelfth Annual Transition Fair- "Embracing Transition". The event was offered by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, DHHS. More

NC AgrAbility's Beatriz Rodriguez at NC Conference on Visual ImpairmentNC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor and presented a session titled, "Hope to Those Who Feed the World", at the North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness, April 19 and 20, 2018, in Chapel Hill, NC. MoreNC AgrAbility at Family Garden Day 1

At the Family Garden Day on April 21, 2018, in Greensboro, NC, North Carolina AgrAbility staffed an educational booth providing 144 attendees the opportunity to try some of the ergonomic tools and assistive technology available ... More

On April 26, 2018, at Mills River, NC, Beatriz Rodriguez presented the NC AgrAbility program at the "Farming Resources for Military Veterans Workshop." More

NC AgrAbility at Iredell Garden FairApril 28, 2018, in Statesville, NC AgrAbility staffed a booth at the Iredell Garden Fair where more than 100 people had the opportunity to learn about how to be safe while farming and gardening.

Barbara Davis of Disability Partners at Greening Up the MountainChuck Oaks and Barbara Davis from Disability Partners participated as exhibitors at the Greening Up the Mountain event on March 28, 2018, in Sylva, NC. More

To strengthen the NC AgrAbility networking capacity, Beatriz Rodriguez met with RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA) staff on April 23. More


NE staff at FFA State ConventionNE AgrAbility at FFA state boothStaff attended the Nebraska FFA State Convention in Lincoln to educate hundreds of teens about AgrAbility and ATV safety using an interactive booth and the ATV Aware simulator.

The annual NE Rehabilitating Farmers & Ranchers workshop 2OT/PT "Rehabilitating Farmers and Ranchers" full-day workshop was held April 25 in Beatrice, Nebraska, with 35 attending. Attendees received AOTA approved .8 CEU or 8 contact hours. More

Aaron BockNebraskAbility, an advocacy photo gallery on Facebook highlighting the strengths and abilities of individuals with various disabilities through the art of photography and storytelling, featured a story about Aaron Bock, a Nebraska AgrAbility client. More


Charlie is a new Ohio AgrAbility client who recently had several life-altering events. He was injured when he fell out of a tree stand while hunting. More


AgrAbility PA advisory groupAgrAbility PA hosted their annual advisory group meeting in State College, PA. It was a day packed full of information, brainstorming, and planning for the year ahead. More

AgrAbility PA staff participated in "Communicating with Farmers Under Stress," a mental health training hosted by the Centre for Dairy Excellence. More

AgrAbility Project Assistant Abbie Spackman participated in a Women in Ag event hosted by the National Resources Conservation Service. More


Mark FlemingOn January 15, 2017, Mr. Fleming's life changed. Mr. Fleming, a livestock/small ruminant producer in Fayette County, suffered a stroke that left him with limitations in farm work. More

Mike & Stephanie TrostAn update on Mike and Stephanie Trost, beginning farmer veterans and TNAP clients. Stephanie said, "After 6 long years from injury to recovery, Pokeadot Hops and Garden is well under way! More

Tennessee New Farmer Academy expanded to West Tennessee (Memphis) with the first class being held in April with 25 participants. More

Five Tennessee farmer veterans received Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) Fellowship Funds! BIG THANK YOU to FVC and the generous Fellowship Fund supporters for making this possible. More

Brian Gottschall from Orlinda, TN, attended one of TNAP's beginning farmer workshops and learned about the UT MANAGE program. He was awarded $2000 for a rototiller from FVC Fellowship Fund. More

TNAP exhibited at the beef trade show at the Southeast TN Beef Summit in Athens, TN, with 300 cattle farmers. More

TNAP exhibited and networked at the 3rd Joint Operation, a free event for veterans that serves as a one-stop shop for veterans to access local resources and services. More


Texas AgrAbility has been very busy this spring. The third cohort of the Battleground to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project was accepted and attended Basic Training April 7-8. More

Several Texas AgrAbility veteran clients received grants from the Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund to help fund assistive technology and equipment for their operations.

Texas AgrAbility staff preformed a farm assessment for a retired ag teacher who suffered from paralysis and is wanting to get back into the driver's seat of his operation.

Eight hands-on-learning workshops are scheduled through June. Topics include composting, building cold storage, farmers markets, vermiculture, and much more! Check them out here.


AgrAbility of Utah sponsored a booth at the 40th Annual Utah/Arizona Range Livestock Workshop April 4 in Hurricane, Utah. More

AgrAbility of Utah assisted staff from the National AgrAbility Project with the AgrAbility booth at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference. More


AgrAbility Virginia (through Virginia Tech) is a co-partner in a National Science Foundation Grant, "Helping Agriculture Remain Vital through Engineering Science and Technology" (HARVEST). More


AgrAbility of Wisconsin freshman engineering studentsAgrAbility of Wisconsin's freshman engineering projects, all designed to assist farmers with disabilities, have come to an end. Three freshman student engineering teams at UW-Madison were tasked with designing a prototype tractor lift, an attachment for a calf catcher to an Action Trackchair, and a grain elevator for a farmer with one arm. More

This month, AgrAbility of Wisconsin's outreach specialist, Abi Jensen, participated in a webinar series hosted by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. More

West Virginia

WV AgrAbility attended the WV Beef Expo at Jackson's Mill. Their display was set up to educate 4-H youth and potential cattle buyers about AgrAbility and its services. More

WV AgrAbility held a training session at the WV Association of Extension 4-H Agents Spring Conference on "Making your Community Accessible". More

WV AgrAbility trained 40 farm workers on safety and health topics, including electrical safety and hearing conservation. This training took place at the Kearneysville Farm for their agricultural service workers.

Staff Changes and Recognition


We would like to welcome Kristen McHugh, program manager, to our team. Kristen will manage much of the day-to-day management of the grant. She has a background in rural health and public administration.

We also welcome Whitney Ostrander to the team. She will oversee outreach and dissemination for the project. Whitney will also oversee many of the logistics of the events offered. She has a graphics design and branding background.

We will also be welcoming Kyle Haney, current UGA Mechanical Engineering student, to our team as an intern this summer. Kyle presented a session titled, "Working with Senior Engineering Students in Addressing a Specific Assistive Technology Need," at this year's AgrAbility National Training Workshop in Maine.

We wish Jimmy Hill, engagement director of Farm Again/ AgrAbility, all the best as he plans to retire. His hard work and dedication to AgrAbility, and the impact that it has made in Georgia and beyond, certainly does not go unnoticed. We were indeed fortunate recipients of his many talents and knowledge.


Please welcome back Dr. K.B. Paul, who came out of retirement to assist the Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program (ISFOP) and Missouri AgrAbility at Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE).

We are also excited to announce that Nashon Bishop will serve as the Co-PI and subcontract point person for LUCE, and will be the liaison with the AgrAbility staff of the University of Missouri and Brain Injury Association of Missouri. Mr. Bishop is an ISFOP small farm specialist with eight years of experience working with AgrAbility customers, attending and presenting at National AgrAbility conferences, and providing direct assistance to beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, military veterans, and women farmers and ranchers.


Congratulations, Anna! AgrAbility of Wisconsin's program assistant, Anna, will be graduating with a B.S. degree in nursing. Anna has been with the program for three years and has been an amazing asset. The AAW team thanks her for all the hard work she has put into our program and wishes her the best of luck with her career in nursing!

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,