April 2021
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
Staff members are currently planning an in-person regional workshop for August 10-11, 2021, in Billings, Montana in cooperation with the Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Network. Depending on what is happening with Covid-19 at that time, adjustments may need to be made, but the hope is that this in-person event will be possible by then.

If you think that you might be interested in hosting a regional workshop in conjunction with Goodwill and NAP, please contact Tess tmckeel@goodwillfingerlakes.org or JoBeth jbrath@goodwillfingerlakes.org.

NAP welcomes Dr. Victoria (Vicki) Finkenstadt as one of the USDA/NIFA leaders for AgrAbility. See the Staff Changes section for more on Vicki.

AgrAbility is three months into the NTW Virtual Sessions. They have been recorded and are available on the NAP website HERE, or one can find them by going to the NAP website via "Online Training," then "Archived Webinars," and then "NEW! 2021 AgrAbility National Training Workshop Virtual Sessions." Our next session is "Safe Livestock Handling and Labor-Saving Devices" on Tuesday, April 20 at 1 pm ET. More
NAP is planning to reprint several popular publications, including
Arthritis and Gardening, Back on the Farm - Back in the Saddle, and Plain Facts about Arthritis, and is planning to print client success stories on Carey Portell (Mo) and Keith Posselt (WI). Look for details in a coming email.

The AgrAbility Marketing and Media Community of Interest is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m. EDT via Zoom. If you are interested in participating but are not yet on the mailing list for that COI, contact jonesp@purdue.edu.
Toolbox Spotlight
The Hitchrific Reel-Quik Hitch is designed to allow one to more easily hook up a trailer or towed implement by eliminating the need for exact alignment. It features a retractable arm that extends out rearward and to the left and right until the hitch ball is directly beneath the trailer/implement coupler. Once positioned, the arm is hand-cranked until ball is seated (and locked) into coupler and then reeled back to the hitch.
The Alaska Botanical Garden hosted a 2021 spring garden conference March 4-5. This virtual event had speakers discussing a multitude of botanical themes. The Alaska AgrAbility team gave an overview of accessible gardening - environmental considerations, tools, and resources that can benefit all gardeners.
Art Nash taught "Extending the Growing Season with Sustainable Heat," which covered how growers cost-effectively meet energy needs with germinating and matured plants of different varieties. More

DeShana York was on the planning committee to assist with coordinating the first- ever Alaska Women in Agriculture virtual conference. As a follow-up to the Alaska Women in Ag Conference, registration closed more than two weeks early after 300 people (the maximum number) signed up. More
California AgrAbility staff attended the monthly RISE Collaborative Meeting. Featured spotlight was the Yolo Agricultural Commissioner. More
California AgrAbility staff participated in a two-part webinar series presented by Maine AgrAbility. The first of the two webinars highlighted farming with assistive technology to improve physical, mental, and business health on the farm. More
California AgrAbility staff participated in Mississippi State University's "R is for Rural and Resilience" webinar series. Guest speakers Angie and June Provost of Provost Farms shared their story of land loss and personal resilience. They discussed the psychological and physical effect of structural racism in agriculture and the need for reparations and policy change to improve community wealth and improve overall quality of life and health. More
March came and went with little fanfare. Colorado AgrAbility staff were busy with researching assistive technology applications and obtaining quotes for modifications; basically just doing a lot of the mundane daily stuff a rural rehabilitation specialist does. More
Georgia AgrAbility held a virtual board meeting March 26. The board has four new members, including a representative from the Georgia Pecan Growers Association. The board was very impressed with all that AgrAbility has been able to accomplish during the pandemic. More

Dr. Glen Rains presented to new agriculture and natural resources Extension agents on farm safety and AgrAbility. Some of the agents are working in counties with AgrAbility clients, and they will now be better prepared to help existing clients and make referrals for new clients.

Georgia presented with AgrAbility staff from Michigan and Colorado at the NTW Session "Are Clients Slipping Through the Cracks?" More

Staff attended the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services bi-monthly board meeting. The meeting included updates on the VR program and other programs that fall under the agency.
Kansas AgrAbility Project (KAP) Coordinator Tawnie Larson presented information about AgrAbility to the Fort Riley Army soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) for 2021 National Agriculture Day. More
Bill Begley from Life Essentials made a stop in Manhattan, Kansas, to visit with biological and agricultural engineering students and faculty and to demonstrate his truck-mounted lift system. Bill encouraged students to try out the lift and discussed the engineering behind the lift's ability to raise extreme weight.

KAP staff monthly Zoom meetings include guests that provide state resources available for staff and customers. More

KAP staff attended Dr. Crystal Kyle's AgriSafe webinar, "Addressing Military Needs in Agriculture." Dr. Kyle shared unique challenges that veterans face when returning from service to build a career in agriculture. The webinar is available on-demand by clicking here.
The Boots-2-Bushels (B2B) program is ramping up for the growing season, spending two days in the field cleaning out the greenhouse and high tunnel.
Maine AgrAbility held its quarterly advisory council meeting in March via Zoom. They welcomed three new members representing different areas: the forestry industry, assistive technology, and a farmer-client. To learn more about their advisory council check out the advisory council webpage.
Ellen Gibson presented "Everyday Ergonomics in the Garden" March 19 via Zoom to 28 Master Gardeners (MGs). This session was part three of March Self-Care Month, a six-part series for Maine MGs organized by Hancock County Maine MG volunteers.

March 23, Kelley Spencer presented "Farming Smarter with Assistive Technology." This webinar focused on how AT can be expanded for use in a farm setting, enabling a farmer to work smarter. The webinar has been archived at: MaineCite Trainings.

Be sure to check out Main AgrAbility's most recent news and blog posts: More
Michigan AgrAbility staff continue their educational outreach efforts by posting assistive technology ideas to make farming jobs easier for their Facebook visitors. Examples include: More
Please join Michigan AgrAbility for the first annual Alpha Gamma Rho Golf Outing! In 2020, Alpha Gamma Rho raised $22,000 for Michigan AgrAbility through their beef preview show. More
MU Extension completed a successful social media campaign with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, Inc, its nonprofit disability collaborative partner. More

To address the needs of its customers, Missouri AgrAbility continues to build service capacity across the state through education and networking. With this in mind, during the month of March, Missouri AgrAbility: More

Missouri AgrAbility through its collaborative efforts with the North Central Region Farm and Ranch Stress grant disseminated its behavioral health/mental health tool kit to farm families, agriculture groups, stakeholders and others. More
During the Mental Health Services for Farmers Briefing, participants heard from an Iowa psychologist and farmer who has spent over 30 years helping farmers get mental health assistance, a pharmacist and farmer who talked about the immediate multiplying pressures that Missouri farmers and ranchers face every day, and Kathy Dothage who is a professor with MU Extension and education director for home and family science. More
On March 31, Travis Harper, Joni Harper, and Karen Funkenbusch, who all work with the Heroes to Hives (H2H) Missouri State Chapter, facilitated its first online ZOOM class to student participants. More

Mr. Nahshon Bishop, Mrs. Susan Jaster, Mr. David Middleton, and Ms. Kendra Graham are working on a presentation for the AgrAbility National Training Workshop. More

Missouri AgrAbility Staff have been designing curriculum for farmers with mobility issues using drone technology. More

Brain Injury Awareness Month featured the "Brain Injury Fact of the Day" sponsored by Missouri AgrAbility during March. More

Maureen Cunningham with BIA-MO highlighted Missouri AgrAbility during the Networking Coffee for Professionals - St. Louis. More

Individuals learned about services of Missouri AgrAbility during the BIA-MO Survivor and Family Seminar that was hosted online March 20. More
Staff attended Niagara University's "Emergency Management Disability Awareness Training (EM DAT)" event in March. More

Staff served a beginning farmer who was able to get funding from Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation for recommended assistive technology. It is exciting to see him back in action!
The team spent some time creating the perfect elevator pitch for Nebraska AgrAbility with input from board members and many individuals not associated with AgrAbility. The goal was to describe AgrAbility quickly, in a way that creates an understandable introduction to those inside and outside rural culture. More
North Carolina
On March 16, NC AgrAbility participated as an organizer of the Spring Farmer Veteran Coalition of NC Educational Conference. More

NC AgrAbility has joined efforts with Maine AgrAbility and AgrAbility of Utah in writing a fact sheet, "Using Checklists to Increase Productivity on the Farm." More

NC AgrAbility has increased the number of clients applying to the program for direct services. Surprisingly, about 90% of them are veterans who are farming or want to start farming.

NC AgrAbility is proud to be providing support to various groups that will be working with individuals with disabilities through the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Programs in North Carolina.

NC AgrAbility staff and other stakeholders have been attending the NTW webinars by participating as attendees and serving as moderators.
AgrAbility does very important work, and the work impacts farmers in ways that staff know but do not always get to see. Ohio AgrAbility Rural Rehabilitation Supervisor Randy Joseph was privileged to be with an Ohio farmer who was able to travel through muddy spring fields and see his cows in the pasture. More

Ohio AgrAbility staff have co-presented two webinars with the OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The webinars are part of a five-part webinar series, "Everyone can Garden! Gardening with Physical Limitations". More
AgrAbility PA staffers Linda Fetzer and Abbie Spackman provided an in-person and virtual presentation to Penn State University Agricultural and Biological Engineering students. The presentation provided an overview of the AgrAbility project but focused on assistive technology design and utility vehicle selection, and safety, and it utilized interactive questions and quizzes with the online program MentiMeter.
AgChoice Farm Credit featured AgrAbility PA on their weekly podcast, Field Notes. Staff member Kendra Martin shared about how AgrAbility works with farmers with a disability or long-term health condition. Listen to it here.
Take a look at AgrAbility PA's spring newsletter! The print publication is mailed to some 3,000 contacts statewide and also appears online. To receive a print copy, contact Kendra Martin at kendra.martin@ucpcentralpa.org
TN AgrAbility is happy spring is here and to be working with more farmers outside doing what they love!

TN AgrAbility hosted a ZOOM in-service for University of TN Extension and TN State University Extension to remind Extension of AgrAbility's services and state partnerships to help farmers with disabilities keep farming. More
March 23 was National Ag Day! Charley Jordan, UT/TSU Extension veteran to ag consultant and flower farmer, reminds us that "Agriculture is essential and should be celebrated every day of the year. More

The TN New Farmer Academy is well under way in Central and East TN. TNAP presented for these classes to a total of 133 participants with 10 TN AgrAbility scholarships to support beginning farmers. More

TN FVC continues in the planning phases with the national Farmer Veteran Coalition. Save the date for November 17-19, 2021, for a regional Farmer Veteran Coalition meeting in Knoxville, TN. More
The Lower Middle TN Priority Program Team that includes agents from Maury, Lawrence, Hickman, Marshall, Lewis, Perry, Wayne, and Giles Counties held a very special and successful program conducted at the Middle TN Research and Education Center. The team planned and implemented a grain bin safety and rescue training with the help of the TN Association of Rescue Squads, Tennessee AgrAbility, and the TN Department of Agriculture. More
Staff met with Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation to start developing a shared protocol for self-employment in agriculture working with Texas AgrAbility. The goal of this collaboration is to reduce barriers to Texas AgrAbility clients utilizing VR services and reduce the time from intake to case closure.

The Texas AgrAbility advisory committee met for its quarterly meeting. Advisory committee members gave advice on the development of protocol for veteran farmers utilizing vocational rehab services. Members also provided guidance on new program development.
A Funding the Farm series is being developed in collaboration with USDA FSA, USDA NRCS, Farm Credit, and Texas Department of Agriculture. Texas AgrAbility staff is partnering with these agencies to create educational videos for funding opportunities for farmers and ranchers. The videos will be available through an online course later this year.
AgrAbility of Utah staff presented and answered questions virtually at the Urban and Small Farms Conference March 1-2. This was the ninth year of the four-day event, which is presented by Utah State University Extension Diversified Agriculture.

On March 7, AgrAbility of Utah trained (virtually) the staff of Active Re-Entry, one of six independent living centers in the state and which covers the seven most eastern counties of Utah.

The AgrAbility staff was excited to attend the Utah/Arizona Range Livestock Workshop March 30 and 31. Masks and social distancing were enforced at this two-day conference held in Hurricane, UT and Orderville, UT.

A great article on AgrAbility of Utah was featured in Utah Farm Bureau's February Farm & Fork newspaper and also online here.
AgrAbility Virginia is currently working with 18 farmer clients at various levels of engagement and need, including a cattle farmer in Bland County who has cerebral palsy.

AgrAbility Virginia is partnering with the Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services in four Virginia counties to support five farmers.

Program Coordinator Garland Mason has completed one interview for ongoing AgrAbility Virginia program evaluation with more being scheduled.
AgrAbility Virginia and North Carolina AgrAbility are collaborating to air a weekly radio advertisement throughout April and May during "On the Farm Radio" segments. Both logos are now included on the show's website: https://www.onthefarmradio.com/

AgrAbility Virginia has finalized an interactive booth design for the Virginia State University mobile agriculture education unit. The design is being fabricated over the next few weeks.
Washington State AgrAbility Project (WSAP) began a social media drive on Facebook by implementing a Toolbox Thursday highlight that showcases a different assistive technology tool each Thursday.

WSAP is organizing farm visits with the Department of Veterans Affairs incubator farms throughout the state of Washington. They are scheduled for May to promote AgrAbility, assistive technology, and the lending library system.

WSAP staff had the privilege of speaking about mental health and wellness, including AgrAbility, on the "Art of the Range" podcast organized by Tip Hudson, WSU Kittitas Extension director, on March 8. Tip's podcast has 1300-1500 listeners and is available on all the major podcasting platforms, iTunes, and Stitcher.

WSAP staff promoted the AgrAbility program and mental health at both the WSU Berry Workshop (19 participants) and the Potato virtual workshop (52 participants) held in March.

Northwest Access Fund (WSAP non-profit partner), the Northwest Agricultural Business Center, and WSAP hosted a webinar titled "Five Lean Principles of Farming through a Pandemic," presented by Ben Hartman. Twenty-six participants in the webinar were eligible for a free one-on-one financial counseling session from Northwest Access Fund representatives.
AgrAbility of Wisconsin staff has prepared for its virtual summit with speakers from the National Farm Medicine Center, Wisconsin Farm Center, and UW-Extension. All of the sessions will be recorded and available on AgrAbility of Wisconsin's website after April 15.

Staff are looking forward to summer where they can hopefully get out and see people in person at a few of the upcoming county dairy breakfasts.
AgrAbility for Africa
Qode Health Solutions/PQF Group Services enables healthcare organizations to explore uncharted assessment and visual analytics, and it is under its operations and infrastructure that the company provides support towards integrated care systems by engaging patients in their own care, delivering continuous provider monitoring, identifying early symptoms, and enabling prompt response. To learn more about its technology implementation and use, the AgrAbility for Africa team joined the company in March 2021 to learn more about their distance care support system. More
Kenya has recently increased restrictions and heightened inspection of Uganda- and Tanzania-produced grain due to high levels of mycotoxins in grain produced by those two countries. More
Dr. Victoria (Vicki) Finkenstadt joined USDA NIFA on October 1, 2020. Prior to NIFA, she joined USDA Agricultural Research Service in 1998 after she earned her Ph.D. (food science) at Purdue University. Through 22+ years as a research scientist, she published over 85 research publications. Her field of research is polymer chemistry and engineering, chemical engineering, extrusion and injection molding, plastics from renewable carbon sources, utilization of agricultural commodities for value-added products, sustainability, bioeconomies, and the circular economy. Several of her products can be found in the marketplace: graft copolymers for water management in seed coatings; a bacterial exopolymer coating to inhibit corrosion on steel; compostable plastic food service items; and antimicrobial food packaging. She manages and co-leads several programs for NIFA in service to its stakeholders: SBIR 8.13 Plant Production (Engineering), A1531 Bioprocessing and Bioengineering, A1103 Foundational Knowledge of Plant Products (Metabolites), A9201 Sustainable Agricultural Systems, and AgrAbility.

Personal Note: I am very pleased and honored to work with the people who make AgrAbility successful. I've been enjoying the NTW webinars. Please feel free to send me invitations to your events; I will try to attend if my schedule is open.
Warmest Regards,
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, baldwi19@purdue.edu

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