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April 2022


2 men in safety gear working to extract a woman from a wagon filled with grain using a white plastic extraction tube while 2 youth look on.Over 1,200 adults and youth attended Discovery Park's National Ag Day on March 22. TN AgrAbility, TN Association of Rescue Squads, and Kentucky Department of Ag partnered together for a grain bin rescue scenario. KDA Safety Coordinator Dale Dobson brought Miss Kentucky to the event. She spoke to the audiences on grain bin safety and even allowed herself to be rescued. Click the link to learn more about Ag Day @ Discovery Park in Tennessee.

Forty-six TN rescue personnel and agriculture producers in Bedford, Franklin, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, and Moore counties spent a Saturday learning about grain bin safety and rescue awareness. TN AgrAbility Project was the facilitator, and members of the TN Association of Rescue Squads were the instructors. This training concluded the spring TN Grain Bin Safety/Rescue Awareness for 2022.

A man with a microphone on the left speaking with 2 women on the right behind a table with flower pots on it and a screen behind all of them that reads AG DAY.TNAP staff Joetta T. White was honored to be recognized by KY Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles and Dale Dobson, KDA safety administrator, for her work in Tennessee on grain bin safety and rescue during the Discovery Park National Ag Day activities. Since 2020, there have been 29 ag producers and 322 rescue personnel go through the TN Grain Bin Safety/Rescue Awareness training.

3-picture collage of a woman demonstrating different types of assistive technology in a wood-paneled room.TNAP was honored to be asked to be on the planning committee and to speak at the first Cultivate Women in Ag Conference. TNAP staff Joetta T. White's presentation, "Maintenance is More Than A Grease Gun," showed different "tools" to make farming/gardening tasks easier. The conference had a great turn out and presented a wealth of knowledge from numerous speakers with a wide range of topics. Plans are in the works to make this an annual event. Visit the Cultivate Women in Agriculture Facebook page to learn about each speaker, their topic, and the committee members.

Congratulations to Dr. Derrick Stowell on his national recognition and on making a difference in TN with his research to help veterans. American Horticulture Society announced that Derrick Stowell, Ph.D., at the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville/Education & Horticultural Therapy Program and a TN AgrAbility partner, was chosen to receive the AHS 2022 Horticultural Therapy Award for his remarkable work bringing groundbreaking therapy using horticulture to those with mental health diagnoses, intellectual disabilities, and dementia. Thank you Dr. Stowell on your work to bring assistance to those in need through the art and science of horticulture.

Group of people on city sidewalk with man on left having a guide dog and Madison WI capitol building in background.Staff were "synergized" with their AgrAbility friends and with lots of networking and sharing new ideas and technology to help their farmers, in Madison, WI, at the annual AgrAbility National Training workshop! Staff from TN AgrAbility's new nonprofit partner STAR Center attended, as well as TN AgrAbility staff and farmers. Thank you to the amazing hosts, WI AgrAbility, and especially Jo Beth and Tess and NAP for another great conference!

Tesha Humphrey, University of TN Extension coordinator for the Southern Region Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network team, presented and updated on S-FRSAN regional programs and support networks to help farmers manage mental health and farm stress. Louisiana and Georgia, two of Tennessee's partner states, were represented and networked at NTW 2022. Mental health awareness sessions were well attended this year.

2 men standing in front of conference room showing assistive technology - Orcam demonstrationJason Barber, a cattle farmer from Centerville, TN, who is legally blind, demonstrated his OrCam at the "Vision Solutions" NTW session with Ned Stoller. Jason said, "Thanks to this program, as well as the local vocational rehab, they are the reasons I have received the assistive technology to help me on my farming operation. During this conference, I was personally asked to share a little bit of what the assistive technology has done for me. This was a very extreme honor to be part of this program. I was able to speak to staff and farmers from across the nation. All in all, this was one amazing A man in a red & white baseball cap and bib overalls pushing a woman in a wheelchair on a city street.experience. We met a few people we already knew, but we met so many other new people and made some awesome connections. Thank you!"

The photo includes Melissa who has spina bifida and Jason who is legally blind from retinitis pigmentosa. "It pretty much sums up our relationship. Is he helping push me or am I helping to guide him? BOTH! He's my legs and I'm his eyes!" Photo credit goes to Maria Shelton Curl!

A man standing on the right next to a screen with a PowerPoint slide showing agricultural pictures.Charley Jordan, TN farmer veteran consultant and flower farmer, represented TN well at the NTW and shared his veteran to farmer story on the veteran panel session. Charley shared, "I had the fantastic opportunity to attend an in-person AgrAbility conference over the last few days in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin. AgrAbility over the past eight years has been an unwavering supporter of mine. I was afforded the opportunity to share my story of farm success and my horticulture therapist journey with three other heroes including Davon Goodwin from OTL Farms who was featured with me in the American Legion video. This by far is my favorite conference. Being together with other veterans with disabilities who are kicking ass in the agriculture world and serving their local communities by feeding them and reintroducing them to the ag world. Many of us have the same stories of leaving the service and having difficulties in finding the purpose, motivation, and direction to continue on in this life. We often share the same stories of wanting to end our lives, including myself, because we feel like there's nothing out there for us anymore after our service is complete. Many of us have gone through the same disappointing job interview processes where we are disregarded because our disabilities "just don't make a good fit" for their organization. Agriculture doesn't care if you're disabled; agriculture invites all makes and models of humans to join in the mission of providing quality agricultural products to this great nation and beyond. You can have your corporate world where you bust your back to make someone else rich while getting rewarded with a few days of vacation time a year. For now, I'll keep producing fresh cut flowers, mushrooms, and honey for my awesome Clarksville community and teaching my fantastic undergrad students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University about all thing's aviation. Thank you AgrAbility for believing in us!"

Submitted by Tennessee AgrAbility Project