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December 2018

National AgrAbility Project News

The Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives last week with AgrAbility included. The president is expected to sign the bill this week. More

Workshop Updates

AgrAbility staff from several states attended the Farmer Veteran Coalition Stakeholders Conference in Kansas City, MO, November 14-17. The exhibit table was hosted by Kansas AgrAbility, with NAP and Missouri AgrAbility providing materials and support. More

National AgrAbility Project's web page for veterans and beginning farmers has just undergone a major remodeling. It now contains more than 100 resources/links for farmer veterans, any veteran, beginning farmers, and more.

member of the NAP advisory team sit around table at meeting with projection screen in backgroundThe National AgrAbility Advisory Team gathered in Indianapolis last week for its annual face-to-face meeting. Twenty advisors, staff members, and AgrAbility's NIFA national project leader, Aida Balsano, discussed numerous issues related to the NAP and SRAPs. See for a list of the advisory team members. Kindling Cracker Firewood Splitter

Toolbox Spotlight: Just in time for roasting chestnuts on your open fire, The cast iron Kindling Cracker Firewood Splitter, which has neither moving parts nor sharp projections to cause injury, is designed to provide a safe, quick way to make kindling.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


Last year the Southeast Colorado Water Symposium invited Colorado AgrAbility (CAP) to attend as an exhibitor. Staff did, and their impact seemed to be rather minimal. So, imagine their surprise when they were asked to return. More

The Colorado section of the Society for Range Management fall workshop invited CAP to attend their November 6-8, 2018, session held at the Wine Country Inn in Palisade CO. More

Each year, Goodwill Industries of Denver hosts a major fundraising event called the Power of Work luncheon. Some 800 to 900 people are in attendance. More

The Colorado State University Extension/AgrAbility Winter Workshops are coming January and February 2019! To see the flyer with further information, venues, and dates, click here.


GA AgrAbility staff members at Brenau UniversityNovember 2, staff members hosted a four-hour workshop at Brenau University for occupational therapy students. Students learned about assistive technology and how it is used in farming applications.

Georgia AgrAbility staff member Rebecca Brightwell presented at the Southern Region Integrated Produce Safety Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 13-14. Brightwell's presentation discussed military veterans who are interested in agriculture.


Illinois AgrAbility Unlimited's communications coordinator, Kelly Gagnon, and program director, Bob Aherin, attended the Local-Regional Foods Conference sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau. More

As AgrAbility Unlimited is working to renew their contract with the USDA, Bob is planning to coordinate meetings with the program's current partners Illinois Assistive Technology Program and the Community Health Partnership of Illinois. More

In addition to the new proposal development, the University of Illinois College of ACES Fund Development Office plans on launching their fundraising efforts this month for the AgrAbility IL program with a goal of raising two million dollars over the next 4 to 5 years... More


The primary objective of Indiana AgrAbility is to provide services to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers and their families with disabilities. November has been spent providing direct services thru on-farm visits to nine farmers with disabilities and their families. More

Linda Tarr had a booth at the Indiana Woodland Owners Conference held at Brown County State Park. She also attended the Indiana AgrAbility Advisory Team meeting held at Purdue.

KansasKS AgrAbility booth at FVC Stakeholders Conference in Kansas City

Kansas AgrAbility was honored to participate as an exhibitor and to serve on the planning committee for the 2018 Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference in Kansas City. More


Kentucky AgrAbility is still going strong this fall...The final Extension agent trainings were held at the beginning of the month with about one hundred and fifty agents attending. MoreL to R - Kara Boyd, Mike Lewis, and Dr. John Boyd Jr.

Mike Lewis traveled to Shreveport, LA, for the National Black Farmers
Association conference on November 2. He shared a presentation time with Chuck Baldwin from the National AgrAbility Project. More

The Kentucky State University's Small Farm Conference was held at the KSU Benson Research Farm in Frankfort, KY, November 13 -15. More

The 100th Anniversary of the KY Farm Bureau Convention was held November 27-December 1 at the Galt House in Louisville. Linda Bokros hosted the exhibit table on Thursday in the exhibitors hall. More

December will allow time to catch up with clients and to look at new ways to go forward in the effort to help farm families in Kentucky.

MaineBrie Weisman

Maine AgrAbility Specialist Brie Weisman, OT, exhibited project information at the 2018 Maine State Occupational Therapy Fall conference in Fairfield on November 3. More

On November 9, Lani Carlson presented Maine AgrAbility project updates and events to the Beginning Farmer Resource Network Leadership Council. More

The Maine Farm Bureau held its annual meeting in Caribou on November 10 and 11. AgrAbility brochures were included with the conference materials.Anne Devin at PAW field day

Anne Devin, Maine's veteran outreach specialist, hosted a successful Veteran Farmer Field Day at Chase Stream Farm that was sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology and United Farmer Veterans of Maine. More


Michigan AgrAbility mailing address change! The new mailing address is: Michigan AgrAbility, 4065 East Hills Court SE, Kentwood, MI 49546.

Ned Stoller was an interviewee on Michigan's Farm-to-Family Radio program, where he discussed the Michigan AgrAbility program. You can listen to his interview here.

Farmer John Reilly on tractorIn June, farmer John Reilly was injured when he was hit by a tractor. The accident pulverized his hips and damaged his organs. More

Ned Stoller (Michigan AgrAbility) and Curt Bishop, PT (Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy), presented "Farming With A Shoulder Injury" at the Great Lakes Grower's Expo on December 4. More

Like to work in the shop? Raise or lower your shop drill press for a worker standing up or a worker using a wheelchair. A low-profile transmission jack powered by cordless drill does the lifting! More


Women in Ag "Pearls of Production" conference collageKaren Funkenbusch and Susan Jaster were invited to present at the 6th Annual Pearls of Production conference November 2-3 in Columbia, Missouri. More

Karen Funkenbusch, Shon Bishop, and Debi Kelly attended National Field School 2018 National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI) in Boulder, Colorado, November 5 - 8, 2018. MoreWebster Davis (L) with NBFA President Dr. John Boyd Jr.

Webster David, Missouri AgrAbility ambassador and veteran farmer represented Missouri AgrAbility at the 28th Annual 2018 National Black Farmers Conference, November 2 - 3, in Shreveport, Louisiana. More

MO and KS AgrAbility staff at FVC ConferenceKaren Funkenbusch, David Middleton from Lincoln University, and Webster Davis - veteran farmer and MO AgrAbility ambassador, also attended the 2018 Farmer Veteran Coalition Stakeholders Conference November 14 -16 in Kansas City, Missouri. More

Karen Funkenbusch...along with Alyssa Grese and Maureen Cunningham of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, presented to beginning farmers, among whom were five recently-returned-from-war veterans (both male and female), at the Missouri Beginning Farmers and Ranchers kick-off meeting held November 26. More

Karen Funkenbusch and Kathy Dothage, both of University of Missouri Extension, attended the 17th Annual MRASH conference in Council Bluff, Iowa.

Lincoln University's Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP), in collaboration with the University of Missouri, has been busy throughout the month of November! More

Alyssa Grese, BIA-MO program associate, attended the St. Louis AgriBusiness Club networking meeting which focused on future AgrAbility clients of Generation Z farmers and how to connect with young farmers.

Maureen Cunningham with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri represented the Missouri AgrAbility Project at a support group in Columbia, Missouri. The topic was the benefits of equestrian therapy to help farmers regain balance to continue their farm operations.

The Missouri AgrAbility Project was a topic of discussion among disability related professionals at the Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Facilities November meeting and at the Employment Summit held November 15, 2018, in Mid-Missouri.


FFA chapters from all over the state converged to learn about potential careers in ag at the FFA Pathway to Careers conference in Grand Island, Nebraska. More

Another meeting about veterans in Northeast Nebraska was held to discuss more on how to connect veterans with all the resources in their area. More

Nebraska AgrAbility was featured at a booth for the FarmHer Conference in Lincoln. This conference spotlights young women farmers ages 16-21. More

Two staff members attended the Ag-Ceptional Women's Conference in Norfolk. There were over 400 women farmers and ranchers from around the state present. MoreNE McCook Farm and Ranch Expo

Other staff members featured ATV Aware education and the simulator experience at the McCook Farm and Ranch Expo in McCook.

Yet another staff member was present at the Gateway Farm and Ranch Expo in Kearney on the same day. Many passers-by at these events were unaware of what AgrAbility is but left with knowledge and information about the program.

The Nebraska Team is busy preparing for NTW behind the scenes. They can't wait to see everyone in March!

New Mexico

New Mexico AgrAbility staff were able to participate in the National AgrAbility Project Regional Training Workshop held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on November 8-9. More

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility exhibit at NC Rehabilitation Association ConferenceNC AgrAbility actively participated as an exhibitor in the 2018 NC Rehabilitation Association Conference on November 8, 2018. More

NC AgrAbility display at Sustainable Ag ConferenceNovember 9- 11, NC AgrAbility participated in the Sustainable Agriculture Conference at Durham, NC, exhibiting the ergonomic tools, explaining about the program, and allowing people to sign up for the program's listserv to keep informed about topics related to agriculture and disabilities. More

November 13-16, Dr. Janine Parker with the assistance of Betty Rodriguez and NCSU Ag Safety classsKristoff Minus presented at the NC State Extension Office in Raleigh, NC. More

Betty Rodriguez presented a lecture "How to Prevent Injuries in Farming" to the NCSU Bio Engineering safety class students November 30 in Raleigh, NC.

OhioOH AgrAbility "Gardening with a Visual Impairment" poster

Ohio AgrAbility staff exhibited at two McCormick Vision Fairs at Goodwill/Easterseals Greater Miami Valley. More

Ohio AgrAbility's advisory committee meeting was not deterred by bad weather - staff and Committee members met via Zoom (web conferencing) and reviewed the activities of the past year and plans for the upcoming year. More

OAP will be holding a workshop focused on employment opportunities for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. More


AgrAbility PA staff provided hands-on assistive technology demonstrations during the annual Penn State DuBois Assistive Technology Fair. More

Staff member Abbie Spackman provided an AgrAbility educational session during a critical access hospital meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health. More

AgrAbility PA team members Marci Walborn and Jackie Wardle met with students in Central Penn College's occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program to talk about PA AgrAbility hands-on demonstrationsassistive technology. More

AgrAbility staff members participated in the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's 20th Annual Health and Safety Fair in Hershey, PA. AgrAbility provided information and hands-on assistive technology demonstrations to attendees. More

South DakotaTrackchair and Journeyman Chair on top of hill in SD

Tatanka Ki Owetu, the AgrAbility Project focused on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, hosted the National AgrAbility Project at its first-ever "Introduction to AgrAbility" workshop on the Pine Ridge Reservation at the end of October. More

Recently, SD AgrAbility staff received a hands-on, low-cost assistive technology High tunnel going uptraining from their partner, Black Hills Works.

Staff have begun to do site visits and assessments and will soon be starting their Mental Health First Aid train-the-trainer events (dates TBD). More


In honor of Veterans Day, the Tennessee AgrAbility Project (TNAP) highlighted some of its networking this year with veterans impacted by disability. More

Horticultural therapy was highlighted when TNAP staff worked on the Survivor Outreach Services house with the Montgomery County Master Gardeners Association. More

TNAP staff presented AgrAbility and talked about The Next Mission: Breaking Down Barriers for Veterans in Agriculture to the TN Field School in upper Northeast TN. It was part of another great USDA Beginning Farmer Program in TN. More

Charley Jordan and Ron Bridges represented TN AgrAbility and the Beginning Farmer Outreach Project at the 2018 Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference in Kansas City. More

Farm Credit hosted farmer veterans from across the country in July to join them in Washington, D.C. Charley Jordan, of Farmer Veteran Coalition of TN and TN AgrAbility, was honored to be part of the ceremony on the floor of the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing room on Capitol Hill... More

November is a time to be thankful for everything one has. TNAP is thankful for the support from NAP and all the SRAPs! Staff hope everyone enjoyed some time off for Thanksgiving with family and friends!


November 15, Darlene Carlisle and Connor Dyreng presented at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) area meeting in Richfield, Utah. More

West Virginia

West Virginia AgrAbility staff trained agriculture workers in respiratory protection at the WV Department of Agriculture's Ag Safety Days. For more information, click here.


This November, over 20 agriculture organizations and industry leaders met to discuss and plan AgrAbility of Wisconsin's next year. More


Staff Changes and Recognition


Missouri is excited to announce our newest AgrAbility staff members. Please welcome Rebecca Mott who serves as program evaluator; Tevin Uthlaut, coordinator of social media outreach activities; and Levi Sherman who will provide graphic designer support - all from the University of Missouri Extension.

Also, from Brain Injury Association of Missouri, please welcome Alyssa Weissman who will assist with professional education during the BIA-MO annual conference, facilitation of direct assistance for potential AgrAbility customers, and marketing activities for survivors of brain injury and their families. Courtney Stevens, BIA-MO office administrator, will spend time working on Missouri AgrAbility-related activities utilizing BIA-MO members of the speakers bureau for education and marketing, implementing the "Brain Injury Fact of the Day" media campaign, and facilitating office support for activities.

New MexicoDr. Sonja Koukel

Hello and ¡Hola! The New Mexico AgrAbility Project would like to introduce the principal investigators from New Mexico State University-Cooperative Extension, Dr. Sonja Koukel and Dr. Paul Gutierrez, who are leading the project. Dr. Koukel holds the position of community and environmental health specialist with New Dr. Paul GutierrezMexico State University Cooperative Extension Service. More

Dr. Paul Gutierrez is currently professor and Extension agricultural and business management specialist. He serves on the Hispanic Graduation Workgroup at NMSU and the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice. More


AgrAbility of Utah is pleased to welcome Michael Porter to the AgrAbility team. Michael brings a lifetime of experience in agriculture and several years of work in social service to his new role. As an AgrAbility resource facilitator, Michael will serve clients in southern Utah.

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,