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February 2019

National AgrAbility Project News

NE farmer with cow in stockade2019 NTW in Lincoln, NE, will be here soon!

Things "To Do" before the NTW

  1. Register- Registration is open. Access registration through the NTW website HERE.
  2. While on the NTW website don't forget to check out the great tours that are planned (additional fee).
  3. Make hotel reservations- Reserve a hotel room online HERE.
  4. Register as an AgrAbility exhibitor- This is an option on the registration site. Contact Tess McKeel if you have already registered online but would like to have an AgrAbility display.
  5. Suggest vendors or sponsors- The vendor and sponsor forms are available on the NTW website.
  6. Put together a state raffle basket- The state raffle baskets have been a hit the last two years. Put together a basket with items from your state or any theme that you would like and let's see whose basket gets the most tickets.
  7. Solicit auction items- Several auction items are needed to help support the cost of the NTW farmer guests. Items can be mailed ahead of time, if need be, to Easterseals NE, Attn. Bree Gibbs, 211 N. 14th Street #312, Lincoln, NE 68508. Please indicate that it is for the NTW and also include the attached item description form.
  8. Start thinking about the snack you would like to share in the Hospitality Suite

If you have any questions, about the NTW, contact us anytime: Tess McKeel - - 585.447.9015 or JoBeth Rath - jbrath@goodwill 585.402.2059

Join the AgrAbility All-Staff Call/Web Meeting: February 27 at 3:00 p.m. EST. Our featured presenter will be Aida Balsano who will provide an update from USDA/NIFA on AgrAbility and related programs. Look for details coming through email.

Thank you to all the presenters and participants in 2019 AgrAbility Virtual National Training Workshop. Total combined attendance for all sessions was approximately 200. See for archived sessions and materials.

The recent AgrAbility call regarding VR issues is archived along with supplemental materials at If you have additional insights, comments, or questions about AgrAbility's relationship with VR, please contact Paul Jones soon. TracFab Gas-Powered Tracked Wheelchair

Toolbox Spotlight: The joystick-steered, zero-turn-radius TracFab Gas-Powered Tracked Wheelchair, with 17.5 hp four-stroke engine, reportedly generates a top speed of 7 mph. Check out other gas-powered wheelchairs in The Toolbox under Outdoor-Use Powered Wheelchairs.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


Alaska is building connections and working to lock in collaborative partners to get the project up and running.

CaliforniaCA AgrAbility's new website

Introducing the updated California AgrAbility website! The site features user-friendly resources, more stories, and a page dedicated to Spanish information and resources. Check it out here!

CalAgrAbility booth at SALUD Outreach FairCalifornia AgrAbility staffed a booth at the SALUD Outreach Fair in Stockton. The event was hosted by University of the Pacific Pharmacy School and offered a wide range of health services. MoreCalAgrAbility booth at CalVAns Appreciation Day

California AgrAbility staff attended the CalVans Appreciation Day in Modesto. This is one of several local events hosted by CalVans to thank their drivers and to bring community resources to them. More


Colorado AgrAbility (CAP) began its Winter Workshops this month. CAP travels many miles to present these workshops, and it is over very high terrain. Wolf Creek Pass is almost 12,000 ft. More

The second week of February, CO AgrAbility will be out to the eastern plains for more clients and the final workshops for the year. It can snow blizzards on the plains, so the staff's fingers are crossed.


January 10-11, staff attended and presented at the Southern Center for FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. GA AgrAbility staff tour of the Common Market in Atlanta

Staff toured the Common Market in Atlanta, Georgia, January 24. The Common Market is a mission-driven distributor of regional farm products. More


After taking the month of January to review 2018 and the overall growth of the program, the AgrAbility Unlimited IL staff members are celebrating almost double the growth in clients served... More

The team is hoping for even better results in 2019 with the implementation of a new communication plan and promotional ideas for the program. More

Staff members of AgrAbility Unlimited IL are also working to prepare for the National Training Workshop next month by inviting their past program clients to attend. More


Indiana AgrAbility provided an exhibit at the 2019 Illiana Vegetable Growers Symposium at Teibel's Restaurant in Schererville, Indiana. More

Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, conducted an in-service training for the therapists at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. More

Indiana AgrAbility staffed an exhibit at the 2019 Fort Wayne Farm Show at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. MoreAmish buggies in snow at N IN Grazing Conference

Chuck Baldwin, Breaking New Ground (BNG)/Indiana AgrAbility project coordinator, and Steve Etheridge, retired VR counselor and BNG and National AgrAbility Project advisor, attended the Northern Indiana Grazing Conference in Shipshewana, Indiana, February 1-2, 2019. More

Linda Tarr had a booth at the Indiana Soil and Water Conservation District annual state conference at Indianapolis.

She also worked at the Beef Cow/Calf Improvement Seminar that took place in Paoli for Lawrence, Greene, Washington and Orange counties.

Linda attended the Ag Outlook meeting and the Indiana Beef Cattle Association annual conference in Indianapolis.


Kansas AgrAbility was the recipient of a donation from a small northeast Kansas seed company. MoreSummer Spilman, KS AgrAbility at Livestock Market

Summer Spilman, southeast Kansas AgrAbility specialist, spent a day at the Parsons Livestock Market visiting with farmers and ranchers about AgrAbility. More


Maine AgrAbility staff and advisory council members shared the three-day schedule to provide coverage at the AgrAbility booth at the Annual Agricultural Trades show in Augusta on January 15, 16, and 17. More

Lani Carlson co-presented a workshop on farm safety and preventing secondary injuries to the Maine Christmas Tree Growers Association on January 15 as part of the Ag Trades Show meeting schedule. aeroponic tower system

On Friday January 18, Lani Carlson spoke with 84 (!!!) 7th graders about AgrAbility and disability awareness as part of their science classes. More

Maine ME AgrAbility at Potato ConferenceLani Carlson shared Maine AgrAbility program information with over 100 growers at the two-day Annual Maine Potato Conference in Caribou January 22 and 23. More

ME AgrAbility booth at MELNABrie Weisman exhibited Maine AgrAbility program information at the 2019 Grow Maine Green Expo on January 23. This was the annual meeting for the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association and the Maine Arborist Association. More

On Sunday January 27, Ellen Gibson presented Gardening Without Aches and Pains to over 25 people as part of Winter Garden Workshops hosted by the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust.

On January 23, Sarah Morton (Alpha One) and Sally Farrell (4-H/AgrAbility) presented their work with youth and the VR Pre-ETs program to the York County Farmers Network. More

3D-printed toolOn January 25, Lani Carlson attended a "3D Printing in Agriculture" workshop at the Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) Farm. The presentation discussed 3-D printing software and applications... More

On January 28, Brie Weisman presented an introduction to AgrAbility to 15 members of the Rumford Rotary club.

ME AgrAbility at Flowering in the North conferenceJanuary 28, 29 and 30, staff displayed Maine AgrAbility program information and an assortment of assistive technology at the Flowering in the North Conference in Portland, Maine, at USM. More

Lani Carlson (Center) and Dick Brzozowski (Right) at Hall of Flags event in AugustaOn January 29, Lani Carlson and Richard Brzozowski went to the Annual Hall of Flags event at the Maine State House in Augusta. More

Richard Brzozowski, Lani Carlson and Ellen Gibson have recently completed a new fact sheet titled "Cheese Maker Self-Assessment Tool for Occupational Health, Safety, and Ergonomics" and it is now available to the public. More


Calf with a scarfBaby it's cold out there! Michigan AgrAbility highlighted the dangers of below freezing cold weather by sharing Nebraska AgrAbility's post of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) "Cold Weather - Keep Yourself Safe" infographic. More

Michigan AgrAbility staff had a booth at Ag Action Day at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. More

Michigan AgrAbility's own Ned Stoller gave two webinar presentations during January: one for Michigan State University's Extension 2019 Beginning Farmer webinar series (discussed in last month's e-note). More

AGR Beef Preview ShowIf you were in the neighborhood of Michigan State University during February 8-10, you could have attended the Alpha Gamma Rho 2019 AGR Beef Preview Show at the MSU Pavilion!! More

Michigan AgrAbility shared information regarding American Agri-Women's Leadership Academy. More

MissouriMennonite vegetable producer

MU Extension was invited to provide an AgrAbility workshop for Mennonite farmers. The January 4 hands-on interactive workshop met the unique need of Mennonite vegetable producers in Missouri. More

Susan Jaster, Lincoln University Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP), and Karen Funkenbusch, MU Extension, presented "Sustainable Farm Safety Solutions Through Ergonomics" at the 2019 Virtual Conference - Women In Ag Programs for 21st Century Farms and Ranches. More

Shon (Center) and David (Rt) demonstrating toolsMissouri AgrAbility staff from Lincoln University (ISFOP) in collaboration with the University of Missouri Extension have been busy throughout the month of January! More

Maureen Cunningham with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) conducted three marketing meetings discussing the Missouri AgrAbility Project with healthcare and community resources professionals. More


Eighty former LEAD (Leadership, Entrepreneurs, Advocates, Doers) members met at Raising Nebraska in Grand Island for a LEAD Alumni Conference and heard a member of the Nebraska AgrAbility staff speak about overcoming barriers. More

Specialists have been working on client reports and finding sources to assist Nebraska clients that are within the "order of selection" within VR. More

Staff and students attended NTW Virtual Training Workshop to learn more about assistive technology.

Staff is working hard to find vendors and sponsorships for the National Training Workshop in Nebraska. We have been attending farm shows to hand out information and talk with individuals about the program.

New Mexico

New Mexico AgrAbility staff were at AgFest on February 5 at the state capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to promote AgrAbility services to the primary "movers and shakers" in the New Mexico agricultural industry and at the legislature. More

North Carolina Betty Rodriguez at Peach Growers Meeting

North Carolina AgrAbility participated as a presenter and exhibitor at the 2019 NC Peach Growers Annual Meeting in Troy, NC, on January 22. MoreSouthern Farm Show participants

The Southern Farm Show is one of the largest agricultural exposition in the Carolinas and Virginia; it serves as the great kick-off for the growing season. NC AgrAbility and NC Agromedicine Institute participated in the event. More

OhioMan working in raised beds

Ohio AgrAbility staff are busy planning a workshop on February 26. "Building Independence through Agriculture" will focus on how agriculture and horticulture can be viable work options for individuals with cognitive disabilities. More


PA AgrAbility glove demonstrationAgrAbility PA, Penn State Ag Safety and Health, and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health teamed up to host an interactive display at the 2019 Keystone Farm Show in York, PA. More

AgrAbiity for Pennsylvanians booth at PA Farm ShowAgrAbility PA staff had a great opportunity to take part in the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country. More

During Keystone Farm Show AgrAbility staff visited with Barry Bergman of Bergman Manufacturing, the making of the Agri-Speed hitch. This is a great piece of assistive technology! More

AgrAbility PA has released its winter 2019 print newsletter. Click here to read it. Contact Kendra Martin if interested in being on the mailing list:

AgrAbility PA staff has continued to battle extremely cold temperatures this Pennsylvania winter with their clients to conduct farm assessments.

Staff is also attending Penn State Extension crop and dairy day events and other agricultural conferences throughout the state. More


Dameon Berry on his muddy Action TrackchairDameon Berry, a farmer veteran and beginning farmer with quadriplegia, was very happy to receive an Action Trackchair thanks to a generous donation from the Independence Fund recently. More

THANK YOU NAP for great training and information at the 2019 AgrAbility VIRTUAL National Training Workshop. More

TNAP exhibited at the East TN Grain Conference and the TN Cattlemen's Convention and Trade Show. More

TNAP talked with Jennifer and the TN Beef Council about pairing experienced farmers as mentors with the next generation of beginning farmers and planning a workshop on safe cattle handling for farmers with disabilities. More

TNAP staff attended the 2019 Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Conference and networked with several states and planned for future workshops.

Derrick Stowell, TNAP consultant, an employee of UT Gardens Knoxville and a #UTPlantSciences Ph.D. candidate, contributed to the book The Profession and Practice of Horticultural Therapy! More

Tennessee is now the tenth state chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). TNAP, TN Beginning Farmer Outreach Programs, and UT/TSU Extension have been providing support to FVC of TN as they develop their TN program. More

TNAP is reminding all TN FVC members to get business plans ready and apply for the 2019 Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund. Application is open February 1- March 8! For more info, click here.

TNAP staff conducted an AgrAbility in-service for UT Health Science occupational therapy (OT) students. There were 40 in attendance.

TNAP staff attended the TN Farmers Market Vendor Boot Camp. Hal Pepper, financial analysis specialist for the Center for Profitable Agriculture, was overseer of the boot camp. There were 33 in attendance.

TexasBattleground to Breaking Ground basic training

Texas AgrAbility presented to 35 veterans and beginning farmers and ranchers in cohort 5 of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground Basic Training. More

Doug Kingman presentationDoug Kingman, farm assessment coordinator, presented agriculture safety and hazard awareness.

Check the Texas AgrAbility blog post for a full story of the basic training weekend at.

Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground are planning events for 2019. Check out all of the hands-on workshops and business planning workshops on the events calendar here.


The annual AgrAbility of Wisconsin Summit is set for March 11 in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Hosted by the National Farm Medicine Center, the summit will feature topics covering assistive technology, farmer's health and farm financials in tough times.

Staff Changes and Recognition


Kyle HaneyWe are pleased to announce Kyle Haney is joining the Georgia AgrAbility team. Kyle will be part of the Assistive Technology Innovation Lab and the Farm Again/AgrAbility Project. Kyle is a recent UGA graduate in mechanical engineering. While in school, he worked part-time with the Georgia AgrAbility project. During this time, he adapted toys and modified ride-on cars for children with mobility issues. He also co-designed a power take-off (PTO) for tractors that would make it easier for farmers with mobility issues to connect/disconnect implements. Join us in welcoming Kyle!


Chip Petrea with clientAgrAbility Unlimited Illinois announces the retirement of one of the program's most dedicated staff members and industry professionals, Chip Petrea, Ph.D. Chip was initially involved with the AgrAbility program at the beginning in 1990 as a graduate student helping us evaluate the program. He continued doing this for the program until about 2000 when he became the client service manager for the program. Chip also provided some of the evaluation services for the National Project for about eight years. The team is extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication Chip has shown since the very beginning, and is looking forward to having Chip rejoin the team part-time in March.


KAP said goodbye to Jeanne Sharp, longtime western AT ag specialist. Jeanne retired to spend more time with her family. KAP will miss her years of knowledge and skills working with western Kansas farmers and ranchers.


Kaitlyn HigginsIntroducing: our new intern, Kaitlyn Higgins! Kaitlyn Higgins is an occupational therapy student from Creighton University completing her doctoral educational component (DEC) with Nebraska AgrAbility. Kaitlyn grew up on a ranch west of Naper, Nebraska. After graduating high school in Burke, South Dakota, Kaitlyn attended Chadron State College where she received her bachelor's degree in human biology. She is now in her final semester of OT school and plans to graduate in May with a doctorate in occupational therapy. Kaitlyn hopes to practice occupational therapy in rural Nebraska.

New Mexico

April CoxThe New Mexico AgrAbility Project (NMAP) would like to introduce April Cox from Mandy's Farm, the NMAP nonprofit disability partner. April will be serving as the NMAP adapted farming program manager. April is an experienced farm grower as well as a knowledgeable provider for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has previously managed a small farm, participated in farm market marketing, and is busy at work on preparing Mandy's Farm to start the farming program for people with disabilities.


Ohio AgrAbility is sad to report that Charlie Landis, our rural rehabilitation coordinator, has left our program for greener pastures - literally! He is returning to his family dairy farm in central Ohio. We wish Charlie much happiness and success, and we thank him for all he has contributed over the years, making our program what it is today. He will continue to be a great friend to the many farmers he served, and the friends he made across the country through the National AgrAbility Program.

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,