AgrAbility eNote banner
November 2018

National AgrAbility Project News

Join the AgrAbility all-staff meeting Monday, November 26, at 3:00 p.m. EST. NIFA’s congressional and stakeholder affairs officer, Josh Stull, has agreed to speak to AgrAbility grantees about the Farm Bill and its connection to the AgrAbility program. Look for details soon in an upcoming email.

Upcoming AgrAbility Workshops

The AgrAbility Marketing and Media Community of Interest is scheduled to meet via conference call on Monday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. EST. If you are interested in participating and have not yet joined this COI, please contact Paul Jones

Colorful New Mexico peppers on a stumpAlbuquerque, New Mexico, served as the backdrop for a Regional Training Workshop November 8-9. As this event was being planned, New Mexico did not have a state AgrAbility project. However, they were recently awarded an AgrAbility grant. More

AgrAbility will be represented at STAND (Stakeholders Team Up for Action in New York Dairy), a whole-system-in-the-room (WSR) workshop that intends to catalyze a productive collaboration of New York's dairy farmers and supporting industries in order to improve the well being of farmers. More

2-1-1 ... three simple numbers connecting millions of callers to help. 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people across the U.S. and in many parts of Canada find the local resources they need. MoreAg Safety and Health display staff

The National AgrAbility Project was one of eight health and safety organizations to exhibit in the CareerSafe/SAY (Safety in Agriculture for Youth) booth at the 2018 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. More

AgrAbility was recently featured in the WIRED magazine article, "The Cleaver Tech Keeping America's (Many) Disabled Farmers on the Job." WIRED is published online and in print and focuses on emerging technologies and their effects on culture.South Dakota's AgrAbility team with PI Jason Schoch on far right and Patricia Hammond, Extension educator, next to him

The National AgrAbility Project, in collaboration with USDA/NIFA's newly funded (September 1, 2018) AgrAbility project in South Dakota, held a two-day Intro to AgrAbility workshop on the Pine Ridge Reservation outside of Pine Ridge, SD, October 29-30. MoreDr. John Boyd Jr., founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association

Chuck Baldwin attended the 28th Annual National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) Conference in Shreveport, Louisiana, November 2-3, 2018. Approximately 70 people were in attendance on Friday, with more that came on Saturday. More

Tractor with front-mounted snow blower moving snowToolbox Spotlight: As Winter Storm Avery roars through a large part of the country today, snow removal jumps to the forefront of many people's thoughts. Tractor Front-Mounted Snow Blowers and Tractor Rear-Mounted Snow Blowers can move large amounts of snow in a relatively short period of time.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


Alaska AgrAbility is in the planning stages and engaging in deeper connections with their partners to begin their project work.

Alaska staff are planning on attending the upcoming AgrAbility Regional Training Event at Mt. Vernon, Washington, in December.

CaliforniaCalAgrAbility booth at the health fair

CalAgrAbility worked with a handful of local Yolo County agencies to coordinate a health fair commemorating Binational Health Week. The fair rotates around the county every year. MoreCalAgrAbility at the Disability Awareness Symposium

CalAgrAbility shared a booth with colleagues from the local Department of Rehabilitation at the Annual Disability Awareness Symposium & Accessible Technology Fair at UC Davis. MoreCalAgrAbility staff at the WCAHS Annual Symposium

CalAgrAbility staff attended the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) Annual Symposium at UC Davis. More


CO AgrAbility at the APRIL ConferenceThe Colorado AgrAbility Project (CAP) had a busy month. Staff attended the APRIL conference where they had a table and were featured as co-presenters. Their sessions were well attended and lots of great connections were made. Annie's Project sign

Annie's Project was held at Estes Park, CO. There were lots of Elk out and wonderful weather abounded. Given the nature of Annie's Project, it was well attended. Candy, CAP's project manager, was on-scene where she networked with many folks and came away with some referrals.


GA AgrAbility at the Sunbelt Ag ExpositionOctober 16-18, Georgia AgrAbility staff attended the 2018 Sunbelt Agriculture Exposition located in Moultrie, GA. This is North America's premier farm show with over 1,200 vendors participating. MoreChris Dorsey speaking to FVC GA stakeholdere conference

Staff attended the Farmer Veteran Coalition Georgia stakeholder conference, United We Farm: Georgia, October 12, where Georgia AgrAbility Veteran Relations Coordinator Chris Dorsey was able to speak to those in attendance about the Georgia AgrAbility project. More



With the success of the 2018 Communication Initiatives, the AgrAbility Unlimited IL team is already working to develop new strategies to implement in the new year to continue the growth.

Kelly Gagnon, the communications coordinator, has been developing a new 2019 communications plan with the intention of more actively engaging the organization's Ambassadors to reach more farm families in their local communities who may benefit from the program's support. More

AgrAbility IL's field coordinator, Jim Williams, is planning to attend the Peoria Farm Show in November where staff members are hoping to launch the newly branded marketing materials to the community. More


BNG/IN AgrAbility advisory team meetingThe Breaking New Ground (BNG)/Indiana AgrAbility Project held its semi-annual advisory team meeting Monday, November 5, at Purdue's William H. Daniel Turfgrass Research and Diagnostic Center. More

Linda Tarr went to the Ripley County Ag Days event for third graders. A safety lesson on the sun was topped off with everyone making sun sense bracelets. She also had a booth at the Disability Employment Fair in Terre Haute sponsored by Ivy Tech and worked at the National FFA Convention booth.

KansasKS AgrAbility Project booth at Mother Earth News Fair

Kansas AgrAbility staff had an interactive booth at the Mother Earth News Fair, Oct. 21-22, in Topeka. KAP's priority was to increase its reach to small producers, beginning farmers, and women producers. More


On October 4 and 15, Lani Carlson presented Maine AgrAbility Project information to UMaine employees and Cooperative Extension stakeholders as part of a Zoom event called the Extension Showcase for a UMaine Extension Dean candidate. More

On October 15, Ellen Gibson presented a "Gardening Forever" talk to Franklin County Extension Homemakers in Farmington. Ellen's presentation was part of their annual "train the trainer" programming.Kelly Smith, Maine AgrAbility, at Defining Moments in Brain Injury conference

Maine AgrAbility specialist Kelley Smith, COTA/L, ATP, exhibited project information at the Defining Moments in Brain Injury conference on October 16in Portland. More

On October 17, Lani Carlson had a radio interview with the western Maine regional radio station (WKTJ) radio host. She talked about AgrAbility programming and available statewide resources.

Lani Carlson represented farmers and farm workers with disabilities at the October 24th Mobility Solutions workshop in Portland. More

During the 99th Annual Franklin County Extension Association meeting, Lani Carlson presented an overview of Maine AgrAbility's activities and mission (October 24).


Ray working his bedsRay is a 51-year-old veteran operating an 80-acre orchard in St. Clair County, Michigan. After a car accident 25 years ago, Ray was unable to continue working on a submarine. More

Michigan AgrAbility is still recruiting readers to read and record the Pesticide Applicator's Training Manual for a sight-impaired AgrAbility client. MoreJill Nichols next to flower pots

Serving others is often what Michigan AgrAbility clients do! Take Jill Nichols for example. Jill raises pumpkins and other produce near Munith, Michigan, and operates the farm's market stand. More

Highlighting success is important to Michigan AgrAbility. AgrAbility staff are all in this together to assist clients in need of services. More

As everyone knows, farmers are at a high risk of losing their ability to hear due to the duration of exposure to high levels of noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is particularly devastating because it's irreversible, and medication and surgery don't help. More


Frank Wideman, MU Extension agricultural engineer, facilitated an AgrAbility training workshop for 55 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) employees located in USDA Service Centers covering 25 counties in Southeast Missouri. More

Karen Funkenbusch and David Middleton conducted three level II comprehensive onsite farmstead assessments on behalf of Missouri AgrAbility.

Jesup Wagon used by MO AgrAbilityMissouri AgrAbility team members from University of Missouri Extension (MUE) and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) developed educational health and safety displays to address on-the-farm repetitive motion, vibration, respiratory, eye, and noise related issues. More

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program (ISFOP) in collaboration with the University of Missouri Extension (MUE) facilitated an educational outreach booth. MoreNahshon Bishop, Lincoln University and MO AgrAbility co-PI, teaching

Nahshon Bishop, a small-farm specialist for LUCE ISFOP spoke to college students at Ozarks Technical Community College on October 11. More

David Middleton, a farm outreach worker (FOW), and Nahshon Bishop, a small-farm specialist working for LUCE ISFOP, in collaboration with the Webb City Farmers' Market and the University of Missouri Extension, held an educational field day at Gainesville, Missouri, on October 20, 2018. More

Karen Funkenbusch and Chris Allen by AgrAbility signThe Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP) was represented at the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) 13th Annual Professional Conference which was held October 4-5 with Karen Funkenbusch, MAP PI, representing AgrAbility on the "Employment Best Practices" panel at the conference. More

More than 250 professionals learned about MO AgrAbility as Brain Injury Association of Missouri volunteers hosted an exhibit at the Missouri Association of County Developmental Disability Services (MACDDS) Conference on October 18 and 19, 2018.


Beginning farmers meetings were held in Lincoln last month with a Nebraska AgrAbility staff member attending. MoreNebraska farmer with bullNebraska farmer with AT

Another follow-up visit with a client occurred this month. He is successfully farming and caring for his cattle with the use of the recommended assistive technology and funding from Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation.

Emily Freudenburg and her client Colene were asked to be on Sharkfarmer Radio. More

Word of Nebraska AgrAbility traveled to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis through staff involved in a safety booth there. Several conversations took place about the AgrAbility project.

The Nebraska AgrAbility Facebook page saw a lot of extra attention this month with the use of showing videos. Many of the videos were performing at 85% or better. Thanks to all for following these pages and sharing the posts!

New Mexico

News of the New Mexico AgrAbility Program (NMAP) was presented to the NM Legislative Health and Human Services Committee meeting on October 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe State Capitol. More

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility at the NC AT Vendor ExpoThe AT Vendor Expo is an event hosted by NC AgrAbility partner NC Assistive Technology Program. This year the expo was on October 5 at the NCSU McKimmon Center, Raleigh, NC. MoreNC AgrAbility at United We Farm conference

October 10, NC AgrAbility participated as a vendor at the United We Farm - North Carolina Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference in Raleigh, NC. MoreBeatriz (Betty) Rodriguez at the NC AgrAbility booth at NC State Fair

The 2018 NC State Fair in Raleigh, NC, is a 10-day event that ran this year from October 12-21. The fair had a final attendance of 977,256, which was record-setting in more ways than just strong attendance. More

Beatriz (Betty) Rodriguez with visitor at Grassroots Leadership Conf.The Grassroots Leadership Conference, held October 17, is an annual forum that brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss real issues that impact local citizens and provides participants with an opportunity to engage in dialogue and to learn more about identified issues. More

October 29, NC AgrAbility staffed a booth at the Bailey Conference in Raleigh, NC. This event builds upon the commonality of culture and race as an engagement tool for inter-generational individuals in the agricultural and rural community development field. More


OH State Ag Syistems Management club members at BaaLiss Frass FarmOn a crisp fall Sunday morning, 11 members of Ohio State's Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) club caravanned down a rough one-lane road in Morrow County, Ohio. But they were not going to a club meeting: they were on their way to work at BaaLiss Grass Farm, an organic grass, chicken, sheep, and cattle farm. More


AgrAbility PA staff at Disability Awareness Day in HarrisburgThe Pennsylvania Capitol became a one-stop resource for people living with physical and cognitive disabilities...for State Senator Christine Tartaglione's annual Disability Awareness Day in Harrisburg. More

The AgrAbility PA staff used National Farmers Day on October 12 to thank each and every farmer who works in the agricultural industry, and especially those who continue to do so who have a disability or long-term health condition. More

Project Assistant Abbie Spackman provided an AgrAbility educational session at the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRSC) regional staff training. Over 65 staff members attended the session. More

Read the latest AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians newsletter by clicking here.


Tennessee AgrAbility Project (TNAP) exhibited at Northeast Beef Expo.

TN Department of Human Services hosted ResourceAbility Fair for all VR counselors and promoted National Employment Disability Awareness Month. TNAP, Tennessee Beginning Farmer Outreach Program, and Life Essentials exhibited at the fair. More

Several farmer veteran/TN AgrAbility customers attended the United We Farm/FVC KY event. MoreShield to Field fence built by veterans for veterans

Shield to Field, a veterans-helping-veterans organization, helped a farmer veteran and TN AgrAbility customer build a barbwire fence on his farm. Follow Shield to Field on Facebook.Students at CAlloway County Safety Days learning what it's like to have a disability

TNAP attended the annual three-day Calloway County, KY, safety days for middle and high school students. More

TNAP spoke to the Gibson County Adult and Youth Leadership classes on their ag day. More


It is finally feeling like fall in Texas. Texas AgrAbility staff joined staff at Georgia AgrAbility for a partnership and food safety training for veterans in early October. More

Texas AgrAbility staff conducted a farm assessment for an urban veteran farmer. He produces hydroponic produce, raises chickens, and has raised beds.

The Stiles Farm Tour in cooperation with the Williamson County AgriLife Extension and Battleground to Breaking Ground is scheduled for November 30. Attendees will tour the farm and participate in livestock and production agriculture demonstrations.

The Georgetown Battleground to Breaking Ground Free Agriculture Business Workshop will be held on December 1. More


AgrAbility of Utah staffed a booth at the Utah Center for Assistive Technology Open House on October 3 in Salt Lake City. More


AgrAbility of Wisconsin was awarded a four-year grant from the USDA NIFA AgrAbility program to continue providing services to farmers and farm families with disabilities and limitations throughout the state. More

In collaboration with the National AgrAbility Project, AgrAbility of Wisconsin staff hosted a booth at the World Dairy Expo held in Madison, WI. More

AgrAbility of Wisconsin staff have been traveling throughout the state, presenting information about the AgrAbility of Wisconsin program, its initiatives, and farm safety to a range of students. More

The annual AgrAbility of Wisconsin Summit is set for March 11, 2019, at the National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield, WI. More

At the Easter Seals Wisconsin Recognition Dinner, one of the honorees was Jim Massey, receiving the Outstanding Media award. More

Another honoree was Adam Faust, a progressive dairy farmer from Chilton, Wisconsin. Adam's challenges made him an ideal candidate for Easter Seals Wisconsin's FARM Program, the non-profit partner in the AgrAbility of Wisconsin program. More

Staff Changes and Recognition


Kansas AgrAbility is excited to announce that Tawnie Larson is the new KAP coordinator. Tawnie has a background in communications and has trained service dogs. She's excited to be working at K-State again and hit the ground running with work on refreshing social media pages and introducing herself to KAP's many partners around the state. Her email is and she can be reached at 785-532-2976. Help us welcome Tawnie to the AgrAbility family.


We are really excited to introduce the new team members to our Maine program and we look forward to working together to reach our next four years' project goals.

For more information and to view a photo of each of the team members listed below, click here.

MichiganRon Bates, MI AgrAbility PI

Please welcome our NEW Michigan AgrAbility Team member, Dr. Ron Bates! Existing staff are so very pleased to have him join Michigan AgrAbility. His experience in agriculture, his contacts within Michigan's agricultural community, his business acumen, and his educational background, will bring new expertise and a new eye for opportunity for Michigan AgrAbility. In his own words, Ron would like to introduce himself to all of you. More

AgrAbility in the News

Click here for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.

Other News

Click here for other news of interest to AgrAbility staff members.

Upcoming Events

Click here for professional development events related to AgrAbility.

Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,