April 2020
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
Join the AgrAbility all-staff virtual meeting TODAY at 2:30 p.m. EDT. If you didn't get log-in instructions, contact jonesp@purdue.edu.
Save the date for the 2020 AgrAbility NTW: November 30 - December 3 in Madison, Wisconsin. The NAP looks forward to seeing you FACE-TO-FACE!

The National AgrAbility Project is publishing a "temporary" newsletter, AgrAbility Updates, to help staff stay connected and provide additional resources during the pandemic. If you have questions about the newsletter or would like to suggest content, contact baldwi19@purdue.edu.
The NAP has also published a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 resources related to disability and agriculture at www.agrability.org/covid-19. If you would like to suggest resources for this page, contact jonesp@purdue.edu.

The AgrAbility Marketing and Media Community of Interest is scheduled to meet by conference call at the end of April. If you would like to participate in this group but are not on the mailing list, contact jonesp@purdue.edu.

The NAP's veteran outreach coordinator, Cindy Chastain, attended the Louisiana Women in Agriculture Conference in Alexandria, LA, on March 12-13. More

The AgrAbility webinar "Smart Technology in Agriculture & The Home" has been archived and is available for viewing at www.agrability.org/online-training/archived/webinar-series.

National AgrAbility's webinars have been categorized according to subject at www.agrability.org/online-training/archived/webinars-by-subject.
Toolbox Spotlight
Made of heavy canvas with a metal tube support frame, the YardRack Lawn Tractor Tool Carrier is designed to handle up to 75 pounds of cargo and has special holders for various lawn/garden tools. Because it's attached to the tractor/riding mower (and not towed behind), there's no chance of jackknifing. Once the mounting hitch and receiver are installed, attaching/removing reportedly takes only a few seconds.
While March kicked off with several outreach events planned in coordination with non-profit partner Assistive Technologies of Alaska (ATLA), the coronavirus pandemic forced Alaska AgrAbility during the second week of March to begin to cancel and rearrange schedules. The AK AgrAbility team moved toward working to deliver virtual engagements.

ATLA is putting out electronic newsletters with pertinent information for clients at this time of change and uncertainty. Information includes everything from sanitizing technology to AT for managing anxiety.
Although California was the first state to go into "shelter-in-place," staff kept busy finding resources that would help small farmers and agricultural workers around California. More
California AgrAbility Director Fadi Fathallah presented on AgrAbility program services and ergonomics research for a group of agriculture teachers from Sonoma County. More

California AgrAbility participated in the March Ability Tools AT Advocates Monthly (Zoom) Meeting. This meeting is provided by Ability Tools and CFILC in partnership with the CA Department of Rehabilitation. More
Staff joined the virtual Wildfire Induced Air Pollution Mitigation & Assessment Symposium. With the increase of wildfires in California, farmers and farmworkers continue to work through smoky days. More
March was spent doing a lot of catch-up paperwork and beginning to feel the impact of COVID-19 on parent company operations. All Americans have felt it and know there is more to come. People are resilient and will weather this storm as the nation has others.

As a member of the Colorado Agriculture Council, Colorado AgrAbility helped in the preparations for Colorado Ag Day. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

CO AgrAbility has also been privileged to serve as a stakeholder for the CSU search for a new dean of the College of Agriculture and the Experimental Agriculture Station. In April, staff will participate in the Skype interviews of two finalists.
In the new way of doing business, staff are learning all of the benefits of virtual interaction. As part of the FarmAgain/AgrAbility Project, staff normally are in the field meeting with farmers. Now they are using Zoom and Facetime to interact on a regular basis. More
At the beginning of March, Georgia AgrAbility had two farmers in North Georgia receive Jiffy Hitch PTO hitches on their tractors. One of the farmers had the 3-point system while the other farmer received the new tongue pull system. More
AgrAbility of Illinois is currently working on developing a new ADA-compatible website that will provide a more user-friendly experience and easy access to resources for clients and potential clients.

AgrAbility of Illinois is also collaborating with other state programs in researching potential client management systems to use in the future.
Indiana AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the 2020 Indiana Small Farm Conference. AgrAbility partnered with the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Indiana, the Indiana AgVet project, and the LIFE Project in the exhibit. More

Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, conducted three farm visits as preliminary visits to them applying for Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services funding. More

Steve Swain participated in the AgriSafe Webinar: "What Ag Producers Need to Know About COVID19." It is archived for later viewing.
Kansas AgrAbility Project Coordinator Tawnie Larson made a presentation to the KSU Dairy Club. The focus of the presentation was twofold: Larson encouraged the students to share information about AgrAbility services with their friends and family as well as to consider AgrAbility as they graduate and move into the workforce as managers in the agriculture industry.

KAP had planned to meet with several agriculture student groups; however, the meetings have been postponed until the fall semester due to COVID-19.
Boots to Bushels (B2B) started in January 2020 with sixteen students attending classes on the Veterans Administration Togus campus in Augusta, Maine, with plans for four months of classroom training covering topics from soil health to crop planning to marketing. More
Maine AgrAbility's Kelley Spencer exhibited agricultural information and assistive technology ideas at the 2020 Brain Injury Association of America, Maine Chapter, Brain Injury Resource Fair on March 2. More
March 5-7, Maine AgrAbility exhibited FishAbility at the annual Fishermen's Forum. Many great conversations were had about stress and available resources. Staff revised the farm stress display to represent fishing industry topics. More
Maine AgrAbility shared a new success story on its website about a double amputee farmer in Central Maine. More

Staff have been networking with their USDA partner NRCS to schedule AgrAbility presentations and increase disability awareness as part of their annual training meetings.

The second week of March, Maine AgrAbility had a Husson University OT student complete her level 1 fieldwork experience with the AgrAbility team. She was able to spend a few days with different AgrAbility specialists exploring their roles and participate in staff and advisory council meetings.

While a lot of the planned AgrAbility exhibit and education opportunities have been postponed, staff are continuing to meet weekly as a team via Zoom, keeping client discussions moving forward and working on developing webinar and presentations for future events.
Easterseals Michigan produced a sensational video highlighting "working from home" and featuring one of Michigan AgrAbility's own, Bev Berens, multitasking - feeding her lamb and working on her laptop! You will find her picture 10 seconds into the video, which you can watch here.
Regretfully, the Sigma Alpha Gamma had to cancel the 2020 5K Duck Race fundraiser for Michigan AgrAbility due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Coming together to support the Michigan AgrAbility fundraiser, area businesses and sponsors came through with donations for the Sigma Alpha Gamma fundraiser. Thank you Sigma Alpha Gamma for your support!
Bev Berens joined Michael and Kenny of the Morning Grind on radio station 92.7 FM from a local bar and restaurant (not a bad gig...). Bev went to high school with one of the hosts! On air, the hosts discussed Michigan AgrAbility, the need, what services are provided, how Michigan AgrAbility is funded, and how people can help and donate.
As part of Missouri's commitment to rural mental health, Missouri AgrAbility was a sponsor for the 2020 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference, March 3-6, in St. Louis, Missouri. More

Complying with COVID-19 local and state mandates, Missouri AgrAbility is maintaining the health and safety needs of AgrAbility clients by using Zoom, Skype, cell phone, email, and other means of technologies, as well as releasing targeted information via social media outlets.

COVID-19 stress and mental health infographics have been developed and posted on Missouri webpages and social media outlets.

MUE actively participated in March National Brain Injury Awareness Month by posting three times weekly to #MOAgrAbility.

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. AgrAbility awareness efforts included website and social media posts each day of March that featured a unique fact related to brain injury, farming, ranching, rural life and/or military veterans. More

AgrAbility marketing was conducted at the School Principals Conference held at the Lake of the Ozarks. More

The Networking Coffee for Professionals in St. Louis on March 3 featured a discussion about the Missouri AgrAbility Project for the 15 rehabilitation, employment, and community support professionals in attendance.
Another Nebraska AgrAbility staff member, Rod Peterson, successfully completed the Mental Health First Aid course.
Staff set up at the Triumph of Ag Conference in Omaha and the Governor's Ag Conference in Kearney. While the crowds were low, there was time to talk with other vendors about their products and how they can assist Nebraska AgrAbility clients.
Right now, Nebraska AgrAbility is trying to find the best ways to reach clients virtually; a continuing challenge as internet connections throughout the state are poor in places. Staff continue to meet regularly online as a team.

During these trying times, Nebraska AgrAbility provided farmers and ranchers an opportunity to learn more about stress through a webinar hosted and promoted by Nebraska Cattlemen. Invitations to farmers and ranchers were also extended to attend AgriSafe and CS-CASH webinars regarding COVID-19.
North Carolina
On March 2, North Carolina AgrAbility Partnership participated as a presenter at the 2020 AgriShop Series in Vance County. The event was organized by NC Cooperative Extension and was attended by around 60 farmers from Vance and other nearby counties. More

Hagan Kiser, occupational therapist doctoral student from Mary Baldwin University, is currently completing her doctoral experiential component by working with the NC AgrAbility program. She developed the Ergonomics in Farming video... More

NC AgrAbility will continue preparing documents, videos, and trainings to share with NC farmers and the rural community via the NC AgrAbility website , Facebook page, and the NCA&T Cooperative Extension webpage .
Ohio AgrAbility staff are using their work-from-home time to present webinars on Ohio AgrAbility, AT, and farming and gardening with arthritis, to their farmers, stakeholders and the Ohio agricultural and Ohio State University communities. More

The Ohio AgrAbility rural rehabilitation coordinators have shifted their work online and over the phone and are working with state VR to continue to serve clients, write assessments, and place orders for AT and equipment so that there is no lapse in service for the farmers who continue working and farming.

To support Ohio AgrAbility caregivers, as well as all other caregivers, staff have updated the Ohio AgrAbility website with resources for caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to add resources as they become available.
It's fair to say that many staff saw things playing out much differently when March first began. AgrAbility PA staff members were set to attend the NTW, to present at outreach events, and were looking forward to spring's arrival. More
In early March, Abbie Spackman provided an interactive presentation to more than 50 4-H members and families about AgrAbility. Abbie used the 4-H Pledge as a way to connect to what AgrAbility does. She shared her experience in 4-H and how it has helped her personally and professionally in life. More

AgrAbility PA printed and mailed its Spring 2020 newsletter. Download a copy or view past print newsletters here.
The month ended with a hopeful story. "If more people, like the high school students with the Tyrone FFA chapter, experienced a day in someone else's shoes," says a farmer with a disability, "compassion for one another would surely rise." More
Hope all the AgrAbility family and clients stay safe at home and healthy! Like the rest of the world in crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee AgrAbility is working remotely and has modified their normal working conditions to prioritize the health and safety of the employees and community it serves. More

Before social distancing started, TNAP presented at the March 13 East TN New Farmer Academy. There were 23 attendees 16 of whom were veterans or their spouses. More

In early March, a series of large tornadoes tore through West and Middle TN with most of the damage in the Nashville and Cookeville areas and many deaths. More

Do you have 20/20 vision when it comes to agriculture safety? TNAP supported Agriculture Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) week, which was March 1 - 7, 2020! More

Next time you go to Memphis, TN, staff suggest you visit one of TNAP's friends, Alpha Omega Veteran Services (AOVS) Urban Farm. TN AgrAbility has been working with AOVS Urban Farm in Memphis thru partners with Farmer Veteran Coalition of TN. More
TNAP also supports Coops for Troops, a program that provides chickens and coops to veterans and their families, and their campaign for social distancing.

Tennessee's first grain bin safety and rescue class was held March 7 in Carroll County, West Tennessee. More
Texas AgrAbility has had to cancel in-person workshops and trainings through the end of May due to Covid-19. More

Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground are partnering to host a Texas cottage food law webinar on April 16. More
AgrAbility of Utah set up a display table at the 8th Annual Urban and Small Farms Conference in West Valley City, UT, March 4-5. Michael Porter and Randall Bagley were able to explain AgrAbility to many of the 240 people who attended.
Dr. Kim Niewolny, AgrAbility Virginia project director, presented a lecture on socio-technology and human-centered design at the Farmers Accelerating Research in Materials Science (FARMS) Workshop, a two-day "day in the life of a farmer" event in Pittsburg, Kansas lead by Pittsburg State University and Virginia Tech.

AgrAbility Virginia has announced it will continue to offer services via phone and email throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. An announcement infographic is embedded in the website front page and published on social media with an accompanying PDF of additional resources. More resources and information will be shared throughout the month.
Washington State AgrAbility Program (WSAP) hosted its first workshop March 6th, facilitated by Curt Johnson, assistive technology specialist with Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP). Sixty-two percent of survey respondents reported hearing about AgrAbility for the first time. More

WSAP staff is working on building a lending library based on specific injury sectors. However, because of COVID-19, distribution has been postponed.

WSAP is working on building Washington's home assessment portfolio and gathering forms, materials, and information for program participants.
The AgrAbility staff in Wisconsin is continuing to find ways to provide assistance and connect to clients through social media, blog posts, and phone conversations during this time. They plan to try Zoom meetings for different functions as well.

If anyone is interested in the Wisconsin AgrAbility COVID-19 blog, it can be found by clicking here.
AgrAbility for Africa
The hearts of the staff of AgrAbility for Africa go out to everyone in time of fear and isolation. More

The AgrAbility for Africa staff is sad to report that the inaugural AgrAbility in Africa workshop that was to take place in Entebbe, Uganda, April 27-29, 2020, had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic for the safety and health of the speakers, farmers, partners, and friends, and per government recommendations. The new dates for the event will be communicated in the coming weeks.
AgrAbility for Africa staff, faced with the challenges due to COVID-19 to reach those that require their services and to increase their outreach and impact to farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers faced with disabilities across Africa, have developed a collaboration with Professor Barry Pittendrigh and Professor Julia Bello-Bravo of Scientific Animations without Borders (SAWBO). More
AgrAbility for Africa is working on a partnership with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) to develop prototypes of low-cost motorized and leveraged bicycles and wheelchairs from recycled bicycle parts to enhance mobility of farmers impacted by disability and to support mobility of extension workers and rural health workers to reach those that need their support. More
Other International News
Ned Stoller is scheduled to present a webinar panel discussion on disability and agriculture in the international community. Save the date for May 14 at 11:00 a.m. EDT and look for details coming soon. Panelists include Mutumba Faisal of Uganda, Betty Rodriguez of North Carolina AgrAbility, and the NAP's Bill Field.
AgrAbility Virginia welcomes Liza Dobson as the SRAP's first community outreach specialist. Liza, in a 20-hour/week position, will focus on marketing and outreach planning and materials.
Click titles below for other news of interest to AgrAbility staff members.

Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, baldwi19@purdue.edu

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