AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers with a disability or long-term health condition by providing the resources and support they need to live independently and continue in production agriculture.

PSU students raise funds for a young beef farmer with a disability
A young beef farmer in northern Pennsylvania, named Kyle, sustained an injury from a PTO entanglement incident. Since the incident, he has been working hard to regain his ability to work on the family farm using a prosthetic leg.

AgrAbility PA began working with Kyle to help him safely and productively overcome obstacles he faces on the farm.

Penn State University students in agricultural fraternities, a sorority, and several clubs held a "Penny War" and spaghetti dinner at University Park which raised nearly $1,000 for Kyle.

Read more about Kyle and the impact the PSU students made to his work on the farm. 
It's not too late! Bridging Horizons Contest open to PA FFA until March 21, 2017 

AgrAbility PA is sponsoring a contest with monetary awards for Pennsylvania FFA Association members ONLY! This is an exclusive way to get involved and support the state's agricultural community.

The Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest provides an opportunity for the Pennsylvania FFA Association members to make a positive impact in their community. The goal is to enhance independence and promote success of farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions. 
Monetary awards will be given to one statewide winner in each category (3) and an overall contest winner. Deadline for submissions: March 21, 2017.

Learn more about the categories and contest information
AgrAbility PA is seeking occupational therapist

Know someone who is an occupational therapist? AgrAbility PA is looking for another OT to join our team and work with our clients in agriculture.
  • Conduct occupational therapy evaluations at the person's farm or employment site, which will include standardized assessments, observations, and an occupational analysis of the person's ability to complete day-to-day farm-based tasks.
  • Collaborate with the AgrAbility Project Assistant to identify value-added assistive technology and/or farm modification(s).
  • Provide formal reports to the AgrAbility Project Assistant following the occupational therapy evaluation.    
Individuals will be independent contractors and utilized on an as needed basis. Farm or agricultural experience strongly preferred. Current NBCOT certification & PA state license required. Travel with a personal vehicle is required. Travel will be primarily in, but not limited to, the western half of the state (Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, Beaver, Washington, Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland, Allegheny, Butler, Venango, Warren, Forest, Clarion, Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson and Somerset Counties).
For more information or to apply, contact:
Abbie Spackman, AgrAbility Project Assistant
Phone: 814-867-5288

AT Spotlight: Beekeeping

Between New Year resolutions and spring like weather, many people are considering new hobbies, new businesses, or additions to current business operations. A growing trend in rural and urban settings is raising honeybees!

They are a versatile agricultural venue that can be a backyard hobby or a business. There are many reasons to consider raising bees, not to mention the honey they produce! If you are considering becoming a beekeeper, do your research, join a community beekeeping club, find a mentor, and consider what you will need to get started.
Now is the time to start purchasing bees!  

You may wonder if a disability or health condition will prevent you from keeping bees. There is a lot to consider when deciding if beekeeping is right for you based on functional limitations you may have. The biggest thing to realize is the most common disability among beekeepers is back injury.
Traditional beekeeping requires lifting boxes filled with bees and honey that can weigh up to 100 pounds. However, there is assistive technology that can reduce some of the lifting and make beekeeping more accessible! 
Here are several ideas on making beekeeping accessible: 
  • Make arrangements to visit an Apiary (a place where bees are kept) and try preforming beekeeping tasks with the beekeeper to find out what tasks you can and cannot do. Then learn about assistive technology to help you overcome the obstacles you find.     
  • Consider a Top Bar Hive ; the most you have to lift is 12 pounds at a time. It can be built at waist level to eliminate bending. This style hive has some drawbacks, but can be a good option for hobbyists and addresses many functional limitations  
  • Consider a Langstroth Hive with 8 frame, medium or shallow supers . These are smaller and lighter than traditional Langstroth hives and reduce the strain placed on your back.  
  • Practice proper lifting techniques.       
  • Locate your beehive on a concrete pad if you have difficulty on uneven ground. Beehives have been located on rooftops, backyards, farm fields and community gardens that may have concrete paths.   Choose a location and terrain that fits your abilities  
  • Install an electric fence around your hive if you are in an area with lots of wildlife. This can eliminate bears, skunks, and other pests from wreaking havoc on your hive.   
  • Consider purchasing a Honey Extractor . This device removes the honey from the hive frames with little effort on your part.   
If you are seriously considering beekeeping, contact AgrAbility PA staff for detailed information on the best assistive technology for you. If you are already a beekeeper and struggle with back injury, contact us about assistive technology to help you continue beekeeping.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

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