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.

AgrAbility PA travels to Tennessee for the
2017 National AgrAbility Training Workshop

Abbie Spackman, case coordinator and project assistant, and Kendra Martin, digital media and outreach coordinator, as well as a farmer and an occupational therapist represented AgrAbility PA at the national workshop, which was held in Knoxville, March 20-23. The workshop was packed full of speakers, educational sessions, networking opportunities, hands-on demonstrations, and farm tours.

Topics included services for veterans, assistive technology, financial assistance, new and beginning farmers, health and wellness sessions, sustainability, outreach strategies, and more. Sessions also included information on farming with a brain injury, mental health, urban agriculture, military culture, and niche markets.
Read more about the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop.
AgrAbility PA holds annual Advisory Board Meeting in State College

The AgrAbility PA Advisory Group held its annual meeting in State College last month. The group met to review the project scope, responsibilities, and overall efforts of the grant-based program.

Project highlights presented and discussed included AgrAbility PA outreach at events, efforts in marketing, and use of social media; updates on current and past AgrAbility PA clients; and an overview of the year ahead as well as new initiatives.  
AgrAbility PA also wrapped up its first ever Bridging Horizons Contest - a contest for high school students involved with FFA to gain awareness and understanding about AgrAbility. Awards will be distributed in June at the 88th FFA State Convention.

Randy Loss with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) shared that arthritis and back injuries are the top two types of disabilities for agricultural clients working with OVR. Randy shared that 90% of OVR's agricultural cases originate from AgrAbility PA.

AgrAbility PA continues to be a critical resource for farmers and agricultural workers in Pennsylvania with a disability or long-term health condition.
Most commonly seen health challenges for AgrAbility PA clients include arthritis, back injuries, joint impairments, and mobility constraints. More than 60 percent are a direct result of an incident or the overall physical nature of work on the farm. Many clients work on dairy farms, as it is the largest agricultural industry in Pennsylvania, but more and more are seeking resources and support from other farming operations. Clients range in age from 18 to late 60s, with the average Pennsylvania farmer being 55 years old. Common equipment accommodations include using utility vehicles, making tractor modifications, and changing feeding practices. The OVR, PATF, PIAT, Ag Choice Farm Credit, and Farm Service Agency largely provide funding for these a ccommodations.

For more information about AgrAbility PA, visit or , email , or call (814) 867-5288. Stay in touch with news, events, and information by following @AgrAbility PA on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Hunting, Fishing, and Nothing in His Way

One of our project partners, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), shared Bob's story and success with the Extreme X8 all-terrain power wheelchair .

"Until I got the X8, I considered hunting as off limits to me," says Bob.

In his new chair, Bob navigates rocky trails and powers through leaves, mud, and grass effortlessly. "I don't see anything as an obstacle anymore. I am just doing what I want to do," says Bob.

Read his full story and watch the video on how he now enjoys the pastimes he cherishes.
AT Spotlight: Ergonomic Gardening Tools

If April showers bring May flowers, then we are already headed
towards a beautiful spring!   

Project Assistant Abbie Spackman represented the National AgrAbility Project at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference in Philadelphia. She is teaching attendees about garden-related assistive technology.

It can be exciting to get back outside and into your flowerbeds or garden each spring. But painful hands, wrists, and backs can quickly dissipate that excitement. 
Head to your local gardening store or visit sites online to find the perfect garden tools for you. For a tool to be truly ergonomic, it needs to be fitted to each individual. This is why we recommend trying tools out before you buy them. What fits one person may not fit you!

Visit this website for a wonderful resource on gardening with arthritis! 

Here are several tools we commonly recommend: 

This company sells tools ergonomically built for women. Try out their shovels or a pair of pruners that come in two sizes.   
They are lightweight and have curved handles that allow for different writs positions. They also have larger grips that can reduce joint pain in your hands. 

This handle can be added to tools you already have! The unique grip allows your wrist to stay in a natural position.   
Now...get outside and enjoy garde ning! In between the rain. :)
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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