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March 2022


Panoramic photo of people who attended the FVC-TN annual meetingTN AgrAbility exhibited and assisted the Extension team during a presentation at one of the sessions for the Pick TN Conference 2022 "Lunch and Learn: How Extension Agents and Specialists Can Help." The 2022 conference was the two-year anniversary celebration of the Tennessee Chapter of Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). The chapter hosted a BBQ networking event on Thursday evening at the local VFW, and held its annual meeting on Friday afternoon at the Pick TN Conference. Ron Bridges, the FVC TN Chapter president said, "It was at this conference in 2020 that we officially stood up the TN state chapter of FVC. It was great to reconnect with old friends and just as important to make new friends throughout the three-day event. Our annual meeting on Friday was very inspiring and invigorating to me. It was great to see so many new people that were wanting to join in and engage in our efforts to help our fellow veterans grow in their farming careers. The current leadership team will be pulling together all of the information we gleaned and should be able to provide a slate of candidates for the full membership to vote on. This will help to keep the chapter viable and growing as we work to create a new and better 'normal' post-COVID. I look forward to seeing how the chapter will grow with this new infusion of energy and ideas." He thanked TN AgrAbility and Extension for partnering to help veterans who want to farm. TN AgrAbility is part of the ag advisory council.

Yellow and gold poster with TN Farm & Family Health & Wellness logo at top and reading THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING PREVENT & PRESERVE - BEING PROACTIVE TO PROTECT YOUR HEALTH with notice of next sessionTN AgrAbility's disability non-profit partner, the STAR Center, presented at the fourth session for the new online learning opportunity: Master Farm Family and Health Wellness Program (MFFHW). MFFHW is an educational outreach program coordinated by UT Extension Family & Consumer Sciences to provide farm families with the tools to cope and thrive with the unique challenges facing farm families. Tara Janssen, STAR Center occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist, presented "Prevent and Preserve: Being Proactive to Protect Your Health." The eight-week program helped producers and farm families gain knowledge while giving them a new area of participation as they continue to find ways to include the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) cost-share program on their farms.

TN AgrAbility is working to reach new Extension staff through quarterly "Assistive Technology Tuesday" Zoom webinars. February held the first Zoom webinar. After a brief introduction to AgrAbility services, a 4-H agent asked if AgrAbility helps students with disabilities like autism find a job after school. Staff explained that they would refer students to one of their partners, the state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). VR has services that include transition services from school to work. The student and family would work closely with a VR counselor to develop an individualized plan for employment (IPE) that outlines a program of services that leads to successful employment.

TN AgrAbility presented at one of the Progressive Agriculture Safety Days "Booster Session: Welcoming Participants & Volunteers with Special Needs". The event featured AgrAbility, and two key points were asking farmers with disabilities to be part of a safety day's planning committee and always including all participants. For anyone interested in hosting a safety day in their state, visit

Humboldt Lions Club asked for TN AgrAbility to attend its February meeting to present an AgrAbility and grain bin program. At the end of the meeting, Humboldt Lions Club presented TN AgrAbility staff with a check to purchase a Turtle Rescue Tube for a fire department. When asked to talk about your program, go! One never knows what will come out of it.

3 people in yellow helmets and rescue gear with a red grain rescue bin practicing grain bin rescueSixty rescue personnel and ag producers from Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Grundy, Rutherford, and Warren counties attended the TN Grain Bin Safety/Rescue Awareness training. With assistance from UT and TSU Extension agents from the aforementioned counties, TN AgrAbility and TN Association of Rescue Squads presented an eight-hour awareness training. Rescue personnel received eight hours of CEUs, and ag producers received two credit hours of equipment and technology for Master Row Crop Producer certification.

Submitted by Tennessee AgrAbility Project