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May 2019

National AgrAbility Project News

Headshot of Shawn EhlersShawn Ehlers, the NAP's technology outreach coordinator, was recently named an assistant professor at Purdue. He is currently scheduled to teach two classes each semester related to agricultural systems management, and he will lead Purdue Extension's IN-PREPared program to assist rural residents with emergency preparedness/response issues. Shawn is not scheduled to work with AgrAbility for the time being, but we hope that he will return in the future.

The AgrAbility webinar, "State Assistive Technology Act Programs and AgrAbility Partnerships," has been archived at along with the PowerPoint. Many thanks to our SRAP presenters from North Carolina AgrAbility, Betty Rodriguez and Tammy Koger.

The NAP and Ned Stoller of Michigan AgrAbility have been invited by the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) in Kerala, India, to present a webinar on identifying, selecting, and implementing assistive technology for farmers. Past NAP staff member Samuel Mathew is the former director of NISH.

Jiffy Hitch with PTO Connector mounted to tractor and implementToolbox Spotlight: Without having to leave the tractor seat, the Jiffy Hitch with PTO Connector allows one to connect the PTO at the same time that the male carrier on the tractor's three-point-hitch lift arm and female receiver (pin-attached or welded on the implement) are locked. 

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News


DeShana York attended two New Farmer Expos coordinated by AgriLogic Consulting, LLC in cooperation with the Alaska Food Policy Council. More

DeShana York and other Alaska CES Staff attended the Statewide Master Gardener Conference and staffed an informational booth on April 6 to share information on AgrAbility. More


Farm Labor ConferenceCalifornia AgrAbility staff attended the Farm Labor 2019: Other Countries, California and Immigration Conference. This conference examined the labor-related issues in California and US agriculture. MorePicnic Day

California AgrAbility staff joined Dr. Fathallah's ergonomics lab during the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Picnic Day display. Participants were able to measure their grip strength and learn about tools utilized to design ergonomic tools... More

Staff attended Dr. Fadi Fathallah's class on farmworker health and musculoskeletal diseases. MoreMigrant Center opening

California AgrAbility attended the local Migrant Center Opening Day events at the Davis, Dixon, and Madison centers. Staff spoke to over 100 families that come to the Yolo County area to work in the agricultural fields and cannery... More


Colorado AgrAbility was fortunate to be given an opportunity to spend a morning coffee meeting with Veterans Administration's new Veterans Benefits Administration director of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service, Mr. William Streitberger. More


Georgia AgrAbility hosted a webinar April 3 with Dr. Therese Willkomm, "Creating AT Solutions for Vision and Hearing Impairment". MoreGreenhouses 101 participants

April 18, Georgia AgrAbility sponsored a workshop titled, "Greenhouses 101." It was held at the University of Georgia Greenhouse Complex where participants were engaged in an interactive workshop in which they became more familiar with the basics of growing in a greenhouse,... MoreGate opener

Georgia AgrAbility staff recently held a staff meeting where fellow AgrAbility team members Mason Dean and Kyle Haney demonstrated how to install a Ghost Controls automatic gate opener. More


The AgrAbility Unlimited staff held a conference call meeting with their full ambassador team at the end of April to update them on the program's current initiatives, new ideas for ways they can be supporting AgrAbility, and updates in the industry shared at the National Training Workshop. More

The AgrAbility staff team is currently planning to attend several conferences and seminars over the summer months to share and promote the services of AgrAbility Unlimited with local community members and potential clients. More


Indiana AgrAbility's rural rehabilitation specialist, Steve Swain, spoke to the 2019 Hancock County Master Gardener class on the last night of their training program. More

Indiana AgrAbility conducted several farm visits throughout Indiana to assist clients to continue farming. Clients' limitations included leg amputations, arthritis, COPD, and back impairments, and they came from a variety of farm enterprises.

KansasS.A.V.E. Farm

Kansas AgrAbility staff joined one of their partners, the Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education Farm (S.A.V.E. Farm) on a bus tour to the Olathe Horticultural Research and Extension Center. More

Grow by FarmHer evenKAP was pleased to introduce AgrAbility to young women that attended the Grow by FarmHer events in Manhattan, Kansas, and Stillwater, Oklahoma. AgrAbility friend Carey Portell spoke at both events and another in Columbia, Missouri. More


Maine grafting workshopOn Saturday March 6, Anne Devin, Maine AgrAbility's veteran outreach specialist, exhibited program information at the Waldo County Rural Living Day. Meanwhile, 100 miles east in Poland, Maine, Ketra Crosson shared AgrAbility information and examples of assistive tools at Gathering Winds Farm & Orchard- a small family-run, veteran-owned farm.

Maine AgrAbility staff with Tory RydenOn March 18, Maine AgrAbility partners participated in a 60-minute radio show about AgrAbility with Tory Ryden called "Positively Maine." More

On March 22, Ketra Crosson and Sarah Morton presented their NTW workshop, "Youth and agriculture: developing and implementing a pre-employment transition services program focused on agriculture using a peer-mentor model" to 20 of their Alpha One staff.

Maine AgrAbility's Ellen Gibson presented an "adaptive gardening" class for 17 Androscoggin and Sagadahoc County Master Gardeners on March 23. MoreEllen and Anne, No View Farm

Ellen Gibson and Lancaster Farming reporter Jeff Roth visited an AgrAbility client at her farm and café - Gone Loco! And No-View Farm. The article featuring the work of Maine AgrAbility was shared on April 19. Lancaster Farming 4.19.19


Spring Mechanical Engineering team projectAt the end of each semester, the MSU College of Engineering celebrates the achievements of its students by hosting Design Day, where student teams exhibit their design projects and compete for awards. More

Alpha Gama Rhodeo mechanical bull-ridingHighlighting, supporting, and networking with organizations providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities is a core value for AgrAbility. More

Michigan AgrAbility is grateful for the ongoing support of the brothers of Alpha Gamma Rho-Tau! More


Missouri AgrAbility staff at MU Extension participated in the Show Me Mizzou Day, Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Columbia, Missouri. More

Carey Portell, MO AgrAbility ambassador, sharing at Midwest Grow FarmHer TourCarey Portell, Missouri AgrAbility ambassador and national speaker, shared her motivational story at the Midwest FarmHer Grow Tour, April 2-5, 2019, in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. More

Karen Funkenbusch from MU Extension also participated in the Fourth Annual Rural Medicine Lecture Series, Rural Track Pipeline Program for the final lecture of this four-part series: "Unique Primary Care as a Rural Provider." More

Missouri AgrAbility faculty traveled to Versailles, Missouri, and spent two days in the field conducting round-table discussions, learning circles, and walk-abouts with the Mennonite community. More

Karen Funkenbusch presented "Identifying, Selecting, and Placing Safe Assistive Technologies in the Agricultural Workplace" to fifteen occupational and physical therapists. More

Missouri AgrAbility farmers and ranchers are going to participate in a cohort study conducted by Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. MoreKaren Funkenbusch (L), Carey Portell (2nd L) and MO AgrAbility staff at Grow FarmHer

Missouri AgrAbility started April by celebrating National Public Health Week. More

Missouri's social media following is ever growing. As of April 30, their Facebook reach was 3,431, Tweets earned 3,600 impressions, and Instagram had 1,003 impressions.

Check out Missouri AgrAbility on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MOAgrAbility.

David Middleton sharing with conservative Mennonite farmersLincoln University's Innovative Small Farmer's Outreach Program (ISFOP) was invited to present during the monthly farmer/rancher meeting held in Hermitage, Missouri on April 11, 2019. More

Missouri AgrAbility exhibited at the Missouri Assistive Technology PowerUp Conference with Maureen Cunningham of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri. More

Survivors of brain injury, family members, and care providers learned about Missouri AgrAbility at the BIA-MO Survivor & Family Seminar in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 13, 2019. More

The BIA-MO Annual Conference committee began its work to identify conference topics, including education for professionals about MAP and rural living to benefit farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

Missouri AgrAbility-sponsored Brain Injury Fact of the Day media campaign postings on the Missouri MorningAg showed positive results and a good to above-average rate of return. More


Nebraska AgrAbility did a lot of outreach to farmers & ranchers who may have been affected by the blizzard and flooding. More

Heather Miller and Angie Howell of NE EastersealsVisiting Nursing Association is celebrating the partnership with Easterseals Nebraska and the 100th birthday of the founding of the Easterseals national organization. More

Two staff members from Nebraska Extension and Central States Center for Agricultural Health at UNMC are partnering once again to offer tractor safety courses throughout the summer for teens. More

FFA members at Nebraska AgrAbility displayThe Nebraska State FFA Convention was held in Lincoln with Nebraska AgrAbility present to educate about the project. Hundreds of members stopped by to chat and learn.

Occupational and physical therapists on local farm field tripThe annual "Rehabilitating Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities" class for occupational therapists and physical therapists was held in April. More

Kaitlyn, the 2019 occupational therapy student working with Nebraska AgrAbility, has completed the semester by presenting a program about opioid use in rural Nebraska to educate a group of farmers and ranchers in northern Nebraska. More

North Carolina NC AgrAbility staff with Whitaker Farm group

Center for Environmental Farming Systems students "Whitaker Farm Group" graduated in ceremony on April 10. More

NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the Union County's Thirteenth Annual Transition Fair, "Embracing Transition", on April 11. More

NC AgrAbility booth at NCFHP Farmworker Institute SummiitOn April 25, NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the NCFHP Farmworker Institute Summit and Network Event in Raleigh, NC. MoreNC AgrAbility at the NC Iredell Garden Fair

NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the NC Iredell Garden Fair where more than 700 gardeners and farmers learned about the NC AgrAbility program, how to refer a farmer to the program, and the use of ergonomic tools that can make life easier and safer while farming and gardening.

April 16, 18, and 25, NC AgrAbility, NC Agromedicine, and NC Soldier to Agriculture Program trained farmers, ranchers and other ag workers through the NC Farmer Resources Workshop. More

NC AgrAbility partners meeting at Peacehaven FarmOn April 24, the National AgrAbility Project facilitated a webinar named "State Assistive Technology Act Programs and AgrAbility Partnerships." More

April 26, NC AgrAbility Partnership held the quarterly partners meeting at Peacehaven Farm in Whitsett, NC. More


Student project cartThe Ohio AgrAbility program has completed another year working with engineering students at University of Dayton and with capstone students at The Ohio State University. More

The OSU capstone students continued modifications and design work to find a safe way for a farmer with a mobility impairment to access a skid steer, a project started by another team of capstone students who graduated in 2018.

Ohio AgrAbility staff have been busy presenting workshops on farming and gardening with arthritis to groups throughout Ohio. More


Abbie Spackman and Kendra Martin at Rodale InstituteIn 1947, J. I. Rodale wrote on a chalkboard: "Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People." AgrAbility PA staffers Abbie Spackman and Kendra Martin presented to the Rodale Institute staff about how AgrAbility works with farmers and ag workers: More

PA Kane Area Logging Safety meetingAgrAbility PA provided information and resources at the Kane Area Logging Safety spring meeting in Elk County, PA. More

AgrAbility PA staffer Jackie Wardle represented the project at Pennsylvania's 2nd Statewide Latino Health Summit. More

To read the May AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians newsletter, click here.

South Dakota - Tatanka Ki Owetu

Tatanka Ki Owetu, the Renewal AgrAbility Project on the Pine Ridge Reservation, is working with 18 participants on site-assessments and on individual needs assessments. More

Since the last e-note, the Tatanka Ki Owetu team and their partners have put up five high-tunnels on two different incubator-hub sites. More

The team is also designing AT based around the simple garden and lawn tractors that are smaller and safer to operate than larger tractors and far easier to acquire via VR or smaller grants like S.A.R.E. More

Three members of the team participated in the Mental Health First Aid training offered at this year's NTW in Nebraska and they are working with another team member who will soon attend the train-the-trainer workshop and will be the main facilitator of the program on Pine Ridge. More

The Tatanka Ki Owetu team is finalizing a review of USDA programs (after the new Farm Bill) and has developed a guide for beginning farmers with disabilities based on the USDA's large array of programs. This guide will be usable on any reservation and is mostly based around small acreage operations and to assist those living at or below poverty level. More


Tennessee AgrAbility Project (TNAP) staff enjoyed celebrating Easter with family and beautiful spring weather! Planting season has begun as the ground dries up.

TNAP exhibited at the UT Organic Crops Field Tour in Knoxville, TN, and at the Southeast TN Beef Summit in Athens.UT Organic Crops Field Tour

East TN New Farmer Academy participated in the South-East TN Beef Summit touring Sweetwater Stockyards and the Trost Pokeadot Hops and Garden to see a beginning farmer veteran farm.Bee Riddges workshop

Thank you to Derrick Stowell, horticultural therapist with UT Gardens and TNAP consultant, for another great Veterans Horticultural Therapy Workshop. More

West Tennessee New Farmer Academy conducted their first workshop of 2019 in April. There were 25 participants with six farmer veterans and four farmers with a disability. TN West Carroll FFA Chapter-assembled greenhouse

The West Carroll FFA Chapter assembled a greenhouse for a West Carroll 4-H/FFA student with autism. Tennessee AgrAbility staff cannot wait for weather to cooperate to deliver it to the student's home and to see what the future holds for her.


TX AgrAbility BattleGround to Breaking Ground advertisementTexas AgrAbility staff have been busy planning summer workshops. Three BattleGround to Breaking Ground Ag Workshops will be held this summer - in Dallas, San Antonio, and San Angelo. More


AgrAbility of Utah participated in the Utah/Arizona Livestock Workshop on April 2-3 in Hurricane, UT, and Orderville, UT. The three-day event is in its 41st year and featured rancher panel discussions, profitable ranch management strategies, and a tour. The exhibit included an AgrAbility tabletop display and outreach materials.

Staff Changes and Recognition


Adriene AubuchonPlease welcome MO AgrAbility's newest student assistant, Adriene Aubuchon. Adriene is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri- Columbia working toward a degree in agriculture with a minor in agricultural communications. She grew up on a farm in South Central Missouri where she and her family raised Simmental cattle and market goats. On the farm, Adriene developed a love for communicating the story of agriculture and a strong work ethic, and she gained valuable life lessons. She was highly active in the National FFA Organization where she served as a 2018-2019 Missouri FFA State Officer and was a member of the 2018 National FFA champion floriculture team. She has a love for farmers, flowers, and all things food. Her passion for agriculture paired with her knowledge of the industry makes for a powerful combination when you also consider the leadership skills and experience she possesses. Adriene is excited to start her work with AgrAbility and to promote farm safety, as it holds a special place in her heart.

South Dakota - Tatanka Ki Owetu

Team member, Nick Ciaramitaro, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, will be completing his service with our team this coming June. He has been a huge asset to our team and will be missed.

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,