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January 2021


Missouri AgrAbility co-sponsored "Pixels of Production," an online conference for women in agriculture, November 5, 10, 12 and 17. The online conference was a great opportunity for 105 women of all ages to connect with other women in agriculture, and it featured notable keynote speakers each night, along with three sessions on practical tips led by professional women in the agriculture industry. Missouri AgrAbility sponsored keynote speakers Dr. Temple Grandin and Amberly Snyder, as well as one-hour program sessions led by Karen Funkenbusch and Brenda Schreck presenting on the physical and mental stressors of vegetable growers. Kendra Graham and Rachel Hopkins presented "Freeze Branding" and "Tool Talk for Women Livestock Producers."

Missouri AgrAbility staff members attended the 2020 Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Virtual Conference, "Rising to New Challenges," November 17-20. The first-ever Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference offered participants with online platforms such as a virtual MRASH Conference landing page, sponsors and exhibitors, live-streamed sessions, prerecorded presentations and roundtables, posters, and opportunities to earn CEUs. Karen Funkenbusch, Missouri AgrAbility, and Linda Fetzer, Pennsylvania AgrAbility, presented two posters. "Women in Ag: Safe Animal Handing Resource through AgrAbility and eXtension" was presented November 10. On November 11 both Funkenbusch and Fetzer presented "Missouri & Pennsylvania AgrAbility Assist Diverse Farm & Ranch Populations to Promote Self-Employment Opportunities in Ag."

Missouri AgrAbility continues to lay the foundation for the Heroes to Hives first state chapter. In Missouri, H2H veteran students will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on training at University of Central Missouri's Mitchell Street Farm in Warrensburg, Missouri, and will receive region-specific management education by University of Missouri Extension's beekeeping experts. The Heroes to Hives program also provide H2H veteran students with in-state support, networking opportunities with regional beekeeping organizations like the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association, and direct connection to service providers like the Missouri AgrAbility program.

Staff members from MU Extension were involved with facilitating MO AgrAbility client farmers focus group meetings and engagement activities with agriculture-related stakeholders and social service agencies to share programmatic impacts and outcomes. Engagement meetings were also used as a platform to discuss the current needs of client farmers and the future of AgrAbility in Missouri.

The "Heroes to Hives" collaborative beekeeping program with Michigan State University continues to make inroads. The Missouri chapter of "Heroes to Hives" program supports veterans who want to learn beekeeping. The program is open to all veterans and military dependents and the free online certification class will begin in March 2021 and run through November 2021. You can Like and follow Heroes to Hives Missouri at

Karen Funkenbusch was a panelist for the MU Extension Creating Our Culture of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fireside Conversation, "University of Missouri Disability and Differently Abled Individuals." Karen shared background information about the history of AgrAbility, USDA NIFA core AgrAbility services, and how Missouri AgrAbility assists client farmers in Missouri and engages Extension state and regional faculty. Eighty-one Extension users participated during the livestream with another six views of the recording after the event.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch

Missouri AgrAbility focused its social media efforts on promoting programs and resources from their partner programs and organizations that support clients. They are also in the final phases of editing videos to be launched through Missouri AgrAbility YouTube.

Submitted by Tevin Uthlaut

Pharm to Farm, a Missouri AgrAbility partner, and UMKC School of Pharmacy have developed and are finalizing educational brochures for Missouri AgrAbility clients to educate about safe use of medicine on the farm. The flyers address safety considerations with blood thinners on the farm and the importance of inhalers for farmers with respiratory conditions.

Submitted by Kelly Cochran

The Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP) and the Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) spoke to the Southwest Missouri Veterans Coalition via Zoom on November 6, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. The purpose of meeting was to introduce AgrAbility to veterans' associations and veteran members active in Southwest Missouri. The presentation highlighted the University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and MAP programming and office staff.

Mr. Nahshon Bishop and Mrs. Karen Funkenbusch have been developing drone curriculum for farmers with disabilities. Their SMART Farm educational outreach endeavor will take place both in person and online as a video series. Missouri's Outreach effort will cover:

Submitted by Nahshon Bishop

The Heroes to Hives Missouri Chapter and upcoming class were also a highlight of the BIA-MO Networking Coffee for Professionals in Springfield, Missouri, November 19 and in St. Louis December 1, 2020. The participants at both AgrAbility marketing events discussed the great opportunity the Heroes to Hives program offers for Missouri veterans.

Submitted by Maureen Cunningham