AgrAbility eNote banner
March 2019


The AgrAbility team has been hard at work developing Missouri's social media pages and rolling out their strategic plan. Staff launched the pages February 1st with the theme "My Story Starts with AgrAbility" and #MyStory which highlights the Missouri Barn Builders (ambassadors) and how Missouri AgrAbility is part of their story. MO AgrAbility's following is ever growing and as of February 28, their post reach on Facebook was 2,659 and their Tweets earned 679 impressions on Twitter. Take a moment to check Missouri out and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MOAgrAbility.

Submitted by Tevin Uthlaut

Lisa Sone, director, Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation, shared the Missouri State Rehabilitation Council 2018 Annual Report. On page 17 of the 2018 Annual Report, VR Services, "Rehabilitation Technology", Missouri AgrAbility, "Down on the Farm" VR training for Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation counselors is included.

Carey Portell, Missouri farmer, National speaker, and Missouri AgrAbility ambassador/client, shared her story about when she and two of her children were involved in a fatal drunk driving accident that left her with partial disabilities, at the statewide Women in Agriculture event, "The Heart of the Farm" hosted by Nemaha, Jackson, & Pottawatomie county Conservation Districts held on February 16, 2019, at the Corning Community Building in Corning, KS. Carey manages the operation of their 1,100-acre farm in central Missouri, and her journey includes those initial "steps" with Missouri AgrAbility.

UMKC pharmacy students at Western Farrm ShowWestern Farm Show's Health and Safety Roundup, February 22 - February 24, made it easy to get annual screenings and pick up Missouri AgrAbility health, safety, and wellness resources. During the Roundup, pharmacy students provided an array of FREE health screenings offered by Missouri's Pharm to Farm AgrAbility partner from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Pharmacy. In addition to the health screenings at the 31st annual Health and Safety Roundup, producers and farm families were provided opportunities to meet key AgrAbility staff members. UMKC pharmacy student doing health screening at Western Farm ShowMissouri AgrAbility in partnership with Lincoln University's Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) and Missouri Centers for Independent Living displayed several interactive farm safety displays. AgrAbility farmers and staff members demonstrated ergonomic long-handled tools for vegetable producers; showed respiratory and hearing protection; and discussed and passed out mental/behavioral health, opioid, MO AgrAbility booth at Western Farm Showbeginning farmer, veteran, and women in agriculture resources. Staff with Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation were also on hand to visit with farmers and ranchers about services and opportunities offered by both VR and AgrAbility in Missouri. Lastly, AgrAbility collaborated with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Great Plains Center for Agriculture Health to raise awareness about hazards on the farm, stress, cold weather hazards, and preventing frostbite and hypothermia.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch

Lincoln University's ISFOP, in collaboration with the University of Missouri Extension, was busy throughout the month of February facilitating AgrAbility education and awareness activities! Using the Jesup Wagon outreach method, Mr. David Middleton, Mr. Nahshon Bishop, Mr. Jim Pierce, Mrs. Susan Jaster, and Dr. Karen Funkenbusch took modern agricultural tools and research-based information throughout Missouri to educate farmers about the following topics and connect them to appropriate resources:

Hmong workshop in MissouriVenues included:

Submitted by Shon Bishop

UMKC School of Pharmacy, a partner of Missouri AgrAbility Project, offered free wellness education and screenings to potential AgrAbility clients and attendees of Western Farm Show. They provided heart health and blood pressure screenings to 51 individuals, diabetes prevention education and screenings to 59 individuals, and educated 35 individuals in strategies to quit smoking. Education was provided to 35 families on the importance of immunizations and OTC medication safety. Thirty-four youth and families were engaged in healthy exercise behaviors through Root 4 Health. Depression and anxiety screenings were provided to 21 individuals. Bone health education and bone density screenings were provided to 25 individuals, along with providing farm safety and Missouri AgrAbility Project brochures.

Submitted by Kelly Cochran

Angie Nowak, RN, volunteer with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Speakers Bureau, presented "Brain Injury: Causes, Impact and Resources" at the Disability Awareness Convention as marketing of the Missouri AgrAbility Project and as a resource for individuals with various disabilities, including those resulting from brain injury. Ms. Nowak also hosted an exhibit at the convention with information about the Missouri AgrAbility Project, brain injury, and the Brain Injury Association of Missouri.

Maureen Cunningham, BIA-MO executive director, discussed the Missouri AgrAbility Project with professionals in southwest Missouri during the networking coffee. This marketing included a discussion with a new Vocational Rehabilitation counselor about Missouri AgrAbility being a resource to help his caseload of survivors of brain injury to return to farming or ranching following rehabilitation.

Alyssa Grese, BIA-MO Program Associate, attended the Beginning Farmer Grow Your Farm course as a resource person for farmers with brain injury who are participating in the course, and to inform attendees about the partnership of BIA-MO and the Missouri AgrAbility Project.

Submitted by Maureen Cunningham