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September 2018


OH AgrAbility Peer to Peer groupOhio AgrAbility has been very busy with outreach and education this summer. In early August OAP held the annual Peer to Peer Summer Meeting. This meeting gives staff an opportunity to share updates about OAP, give previews of OAP workshops and events at the Farm Science Review in September, and present information on new assistive technology and equipment. OAP farmers have the chance to ask staff questions about OAP outreach and upcoming events. Farmers get to see old friends, meet new ones, and network with farmers from across Ohio. Farmers also had the opportunity to share their solutions for accessibility and equipment issues and help each other problem solve issues they are having on the farm. In addition to OAP staff and farmers, OAP welcomed three special guests: Gail Keck, a reporter from Ohio Farmer, Bill Begley from Life Essentials, and Kim McCabe from McCabe outdoors. Gail is writing an article about Ohio AgrAbility and interviewed several farmers about their experiences with OAP. Bill and Kim both spoke to the group about OAP services, and the positive impact AgrAbility has on farmers. Kim and Bill also delivered an Action Trackchair to a new OAP client.

OAP staff attended the annual Ohio Rural Health Conference and made connections with professionals from rural health, rural transportation and mobility, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and several Ohio colleges with programs focused on rural health. OAP joined with two other Extension staff to present an impressive OSU display featuring Ohio AgrAbility, the 4-H Medicine Cabinet, and wellness and mental health resources for farmers and rural residents.

OAP staff presented on AgrAbility and farming with arthritis at the Morrow County Agronomy Field Day. The farmers in the audience appreciated the photos and descriptions of equipment and site modifications. There were more than a few nods of acknowledgement when staff contrasted "before AgrAbility" farmer solutions with "after AgrAbility" solutions - such as scaling a wall of uneven boards to reach the hay loft before AgrAbility and using a well-built wood staircase to safely reach the hayloft after AgrAbility.

OAP staff attended the Amish Health and Safety Day and exhibited OAP resources for gardening and farming with a disability. The event was very well attended, and staff had many good conversations about modifying tools and equipment to increase accessibility and safety for farmers and farm workers.

The OAP staff is finishing preparations for the 2018 Farm Science Review. In addition to the exhibit tent, staff are presenting several workshops at various sites throughout the event including workshops on modifying equipment and facilities, peer to peer meetings, accessible agritourism, gardening with arthritis, and modifying a vehicle for independence and mobility.

Submitted by Laura Akgerman