August 2023
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
USDA has opened a financial assistance application process for eligible farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, including those with disabilities, who experienced discrimination in USDA farm lending programs prior to January 2021. National AgrAbility is assisting with public awareness of this program and has established a web page related to it at NAP encourages SRAPs to make their clients aware of this program. The application deadline is October 31.
NTW Updates
  • The date and hotel for the 2024 NTW have been chosen! March 25-28 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta/Buckhead. More information including a link to book hotel rooms at AgrAbility's rate will be out soon.
  • The requests for proposals and posters have been issued, so interested parties should start thinking about sessions that they would like to present or people that could be contacted about sessions. Anyone with an idea for a session without knowing who could present it should let Tess McKeel know, and she can survey the planning committee.
  • The NAP will again be asking each SRAP to stipend a farmer before allowing any requests for NAP stipends from that state. SRAPs should start reaching out to their local organizations to see if they can help stipend a farmer to attend.
  • Anyone who would like to join the NTW planning committee should send an email to Tess at [email protected].
The first session of AgrAbility NTW Encore Webinar Series on chronic pain has been archived at, and the second session, “Brain Injury: Chronic Health Condition and Management for Farmers” is scheduled for September 13. Register at
Only one month left to reserve a hotel room for the regional workshop, "Malama the Farmer, Caring for Yourself and Each Other," that is taking place at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hawai'i October 17-18. This workshop is being planned in conjunction with and support from WRASAP and the University of Hawai'i, and will focus on behavioral health resources, assistive technology, preventing injury, and business planning. Room reservations can be made by clicking on the hotel name above. Registration is open. Find more information and the registration link on the NAP website under "Training and Events", or click here.

The NAP would love to host a regional workshop with anyone interested. Interested parties should please contact Tess [email protected] or JoBeth [email protected] for more information.

AgrAbility Zoom discussion: “Worksite assessment tools: what are you using, and what is needed?” on Wednesday, September 6 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Details to be emailed soon.
The National AgrAbility team recently received three Blue Ribbon Awards in the Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Awards Competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers:
  • AgrAbility: 30 Years of Impact (long publications category)
  • website (websites category)
  • "Ned Stoller: Agricultural Assistive Technology" (video, stand-alone electronic media category)
Toolbox Spotlight
A Tiltable Horizontal Beehive is designed to enable beekeepers, including wheelchair users, to access the hive without having to lift and move the hive boxes. One unlatches the peg at each end, pushes on the edge of the hive to tilt it toward him/her, then re-inserts the pegs to hold the hive in that tilted position. This allows the user to securely work on the honey frames. The lid has safety cables that hold it open while the hive is tilted.
Staff from Assistive Technology of Alaska (ATLA) represented Alaska AgrAbility at the Disability Pride Celebration at the Delany Park Strip in Anchorage, Alaska. Vendors from a variety of disability support organizations across the state were present. More

As we all know, fair season is upon us. Art Nash, PI, and Debu Misra, co-PI, were sharing AgrAbility information at the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks and were interviewed by KTVF TV where they presented a tool that could be used for modified gardening. More

Debu attended the 2023 Annual International Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The meeting was held in Omaha, Nebraska, July 9-12. More
Candiss Leathers, M.A., VRT, AgrAbility project manager and Ashley Buchanan, M.A. Ed/SPE, M. Ext. Ed., rural rehabilitation specialist, completed a four-day training course Agricultural Health and Safety for Medical and Safety Professionals through the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Illinois AgrAbility presented three times at the Ewing Agronomy Field Day in southern IL on July 27. Approximately 50 farmers were in attendance.

The Illinois AgrAbility project developed and finalized their public website. It can be viewed here:

The project is gearing up to host the health and safety tent at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL, on August 29-31. They will be hosting 14 organizations in their tent, and each is providing demonstrations, resources, and activities related to agriculture, public health, veterans, ag safety, etc. More
Indiana AgrAbility partnered with Easterseals Crossroads for Ability Awareness Day at the Indiana State Fair on Sunday, July 30. Staff and volunteers welcomed thousands of fairgoers, showing everyone what assistive technology means on the farm or in the garden.
Boots-2-Bushels sponsored two on-farm visits that focused on no-till practices and small-scale farming with 20 participants. Staff provided presentations on best practices for farming ergonomics.

Maine AgrAbility's OTD student wrote and had an article on carpal tunnel syndrome published in the Summer 2023 edition of The Logger's Voice. See page 37.
AgrAbility's OTD student earned his doctorate after presenting the results of his capstone project on "Exploring a New Pain Tool for Maine Commercial Farmers." The new pain evaluation tool was developed by Maine AgrAbility and the study found that this tool helped farmers recognize and be more aware of their physical pain.
Missouri AgrAbility focused its social media efforts on program promotion, opportunities and resources for farmers, and health, safety, and wellness tips.

Faculty from Missouri AgrAbility in collaboration with MU Psychology and University of Missouri Extension launched National Institutes of Health's (NIH) R21 survey to understand mental health and social connections among Missouri farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, agricultural workers, and rural residents. Funding was provided by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (Grant ID #R21MD017029).
Lincoln University Farm Outreach Worker Susan Jaster demonstrated the Jessup Wagon at the Carver Farm field day in Jefferson City, MO. Attendees included small farmers from around the state of Missouri, university employees, and community members.
Lincoln University Farm Outreach Worker Mary Bolling collaborated with the veterans' group "The Mission Continues" to build two wheelchair accessible garden beds for the community garden at the African Methodist Church in Herculaneum, MO. Next steps for the project include accessible pathways to the garden beds.
Maureen Cunningham with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) and Missouri AgrAbility, co-PI, provided an in-service for therapy staff at Select Specialty Hospital in Springfield. More

BIA-MO replenished the supply of brain injury resource kits to Ozark Neuro Rehab Center in Springfield and the Rehab Institute of St. Louis to provide information and connect farmers and ranchers to services. More
John Davis represented Nebraska AgrAbility at the Graze Master Agriculture Community Workshop in Seward, Nebraska, June 28-29. The meeting focused on new and creative approaches to reducing chemical and nutrient inputs, increasing farm profitability, soil health, soil/water/feed testing, biological ag inputs, and rotational grazing.

In addition, several speakers addressed mental health in the farming community - a subject very important to the AgrAbility effort. Attention to this subject provided the opportunity for Josh to let those in attendance know of Nebraska AgrAbility's support of needs related to this topic.
New Mexico
New Mexico AgrAbility Project (NMAP) will meet with the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum to talk about a possible future display of assistive technology for farmers and ranchers. The museum, located in Las Cruces, NM, is visited by people from all over the United States.

NMAP has been accepted as a speaker at the NM Occupational Therapy Association conference on August 18 and for the 43rd NM Conference on Aging on September 13. Staff look forward to educating rehabilitation professionals and seniors across the state about AgrAbility.

NMTAP and UNM are working to develop curricula to allow 3D printing of adaptive aids at the NMTAP program.

Eight farm apprentices continue to learn about possibilities for their own farming at Mandy's Farm (NMAP's partner). Mandy's Farm has been participating in environmental justice events.

AgrAbility was present at NM State University's field day on August 1.

Eight apprentices continued regular attendance to the program, managing weeds, building infrastructure improvements, and beginning the harvest season: More
North Carolina
NC AgrAbility participated at the South Carolina State University, Life Project, and AgrAbility Farming and Assistive Technology Workshop held on July 13-14in Elloree, SC. The event was well-attended by over 90 people, including staff, collaborators, partners, farmers, and other stakeholders. More
On July 14, NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the CEFS Small Farm Unit Demonstration and Field Day event in Goldsboro, NC. James Fry, NC AgrAbility field agent, had the opportunity to share with over 130 attendees who learned about the NC AgrAbility services.

Syngenta employees received a webinar presentation by Betty Rodriguez, NC AgrAbility manager, Christey Kirk, NC assistive technology program, and Suzanne Ramsey, NC farmer. The webinar was entitled "Conscious Conversations: Exploring Diverse Ability in Ag and Accessible Technology with AgrAbility." More
Ohio AgrAbility staff continue to work with farmers and collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders to raise awareness of Ohio AgrAbility services and activities, and to create resources and educational opportunities throughout Ohio.
AgrAbility PA had a great July! Highlights included presentations from Project Director Suzanna Windon on stress management and mentoring for community leadership, outreach in collaboration with Penn State Ag Safety and Health, and outreach to Amish populations.

On July 10th, Linda Fetzer presented ag safety, tractor certification, and AgrAbility to ag educators at the PA Association of Ag Educator's Summer Institute. And on July 22nd, she participated in the Cumberland County Amish Safety Day where she presented PTO safety and also talked about AgrAbility.

Dr. Suzanna Windon spent much of July traveling and providing presentations in collaboration with her grad students. Topics included "Managing Stress on the Farm" and "Mentoring for Innovative and Inclusive Community Leadership" with information on AgrAbility provided in both topics.

Abbie Spackman and Linda Fetzer created educational bags with AgrAbility and ag safety and health information and provided bags to members of the plain community, primarily Amish, during a day of outreach.
South Carolina
This month, the AgrAbility in South Carolina team held a workshop with participants from the NAP and those from the LIFE Project. Staff were able to describe AgrAbility and how they can offer services to the participating farmers in the area. More

The AgrAbility team will continue working with their nonprofit, Able SC, in their commitment to the state in offering the AgrAbility program. One of the team's goals was to meet with assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation education specialists to develop a plan to provide farmers in the state with resources to benefit their commitment to agriculture. More
The 2023 West Tennessee Beginning Farmers Field Day (WTBFFD) was hosted by TN AgrAbility, Gibson County UT TSU Extension, UT Center of Farm Management, Gibson County Natural Resources Conservation Service, Gibson County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Gibson County Farm Service Agency. More
TN AgrAbility partnered with Farmer Veteran Coalition of TN and networked with over 300 cattle farmers at the 2023 TN Cattlemen's Association summer meeting, "Stockmen in the Smokies." TNAP and Dameon Berry, TN AgrAbility farmer veteran, introduced Kate Bowen, with national Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC), to some of their TN friends. More
Eileen Legault, TN AgrAbility area specialist, and Egla Delvo-Lopez, UT Extension SAgE coordinator, attended the B.A.R.N.: Farm Dinner Theater Facilitator Training in Lexington, KY. They highly recommend the training and learned new ways to "Bring Awareness Right Now" at the mental health and wellbeing workshop hosted by University of KY and Southern Ag Exchange Network. More
Charley Jordan, TN farmer veteran with Jordanfarmstn, spoke to Tennessee State University occupational therapy students about the many programs he and his farm offer to the public, veterans, and soon-to-be veterans. One program mentioned was the KY AgVets Boots to Agriculture Internship. More
The STAR Center and TNAP recognized the ADA's 33rd Anniversary! Thirty-three years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This Historic civil rights law protects the rights of people with disabilities. Check this link out for more information:
Did you know that gardening has many health benefits? To learn more, read the new UT Extension publication "Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening and Accessible Garden Design". Dr. Derrick Stowell, UT Gardens Education and Horticultural Therapy Program administrator and TN AgrAbility partner, and two interns assisted with the publication.
Texas AgrAbility presented to over 25 military veterans and beginning farmers and ranchers at the BattleGround to Breaking Ground Introduction to Agriculture Bootcamp. Participants were provided information on working with Texas AgrAbility through worksite assessments, farm startups, and assistive technology recommendations.

Texas AgrAbility met with partners to explore offering self-employment services through Vocational Rehabilitation to clients wanting to start their agricultural operations. These services would provide AgrAbility clients with support through developing self-employment goals and feasibility studies.

Texas AgrAbility staff attended the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course to network with cattle producers and agriculture service providers.

Texas AgrAbility delivered a client impact survey to all clients to gauge services provided, economic impact, and client satisfaction. Results of the survey will be compiled into a summary and provided to clients and stakeholders.
The AgrAbility of Utah staff was excited to present at the FFA Chapter Officer Leadership Trainings in Orem, Utah, on July 11. The training was attended by over 200 FFA students.

On July 13, AgrAbility staff presented at the USU Extension Irrigated Field Days event. The event was attended by over 40 farmers and ranchers and topics included pasture weed management, electric fences, and pasture fertility options.

The AgrAbility staff set up a booth and was able to visit with many of the participants at the Central States Wool Growers Summer Conference in Heber City, Utah, on July 31. Utah ranks fifth in the nation in sheep production.
During the month of July, Virginia AgrAbility presented to multiple groups representing a variety of farmers and farm workers. Field staff conducted a seminar for 25 students in attendance at Virginia Governor's School for Agriculture, located on the campus of Virginia Tech. More

AgrAbility Virginia is currently working with 32 open farmer client cases at various levels of engagement and need, including a farmer with multiple sclerosis with whom staff is looking into securing automatic gate openers for the beef operation in collaboration with Easterseals UCP.
The Washington AgrAbility team has had several successful site visits this month and are beginning to attend fairs across the state to share AgrAbility and farm stress resources.

Emily Whittier and Alyssa Wade, Washington AgrAbility co-coordinators, spent July preparing for fairs and conference season as well as working with WSU (Washington State University) evaluator Season Horde to strategize for engaging and awareness-building displays and techniques.

Emily and Alyssa also attended the 13th annual agricultural health and safety course held by AgHealth Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health where they learned about many issues that may affect AgrAbility clients and how to help prevent and alleviate them.

Emily Whittier worked with WA AgrAbility occupational therapist Kyrstin Szewczyk, Washington Assistive Technology Act Program specialist Curt Johnson, and local specialists to create a list of all-terrain wheelchairs to suit the needs a local farmer was searching for.
Don McMoran, Washington AgrAbility program director; Deb Eidsness, Washington AgrAbility co-coordinator; Kyrstin Szewczyk; Amber Beane web marketing support, WSU Skagit County Extension; and Piper, WSU Skagit County Extension intern went on a site visit to assess three new clients who all reside on a sheep operation. More
Debbie Fredricks, Washington AgrAbility co-coordinator, attended a WSU Zoom presentation on working with Native American audiences and toured four farms in Lewis County.

Debbie also did a site visit for a visually impaired farmer whom she is continuing to work with and followed up with two veteran farmers on a post-site visit to give them mental health therapy vouchers and suggestions on assistive technology options.
AgrAbility of Wisconsin partnered with Wisconsin's Assistive Technology Act program, WisTech, for the 2023 Farm Technology Days show, July 18-20 in Baraboo, WI. Both organizations highlighted AT for home and farm and welcomed visitors from across the state. Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Randy Romanski and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek stopped by the AgrAbility booth for a check-in. It was a dusty and dry but successful show.

AgrAbility of Wisconsin staff have been busy getting to summer field days, safety events, and outreach events, including hosting a Neighbor-to-Neighbor event on August 8. Staff will be in front of FFA alumni, Kiwanis, Lions Club, and AGR groups, as well as partnering with other industry groups to present to farmers. Busy summer schedule!
AgrAbility for Africa
Feedback from farmers affected by a disability who attended the first AgrAbility for Africa training workshop brings to the fore the gaps that exist in the availability of affordable low-tech assistive technologies. There is a need for innovative craftsmanship and repair of assistive technologies commensurate with local wages... More

Following the success of the June 2023 inaugural AgrAbility for Africa training workshop, the AgrAbility for Africa staff have recorded increased inquiries and requests for collaborations from different social groups, and overall general awareness of the activities, services, and programs of AgrAbility for Africa that are supporting farmers with disabilities in rural Africa.
Colorado AgrAbility is proud to announce three regional behavioral health Extension specialists! All three specialists are experienced behavioral health providers with a dedication to serving Colorado's rural and agricultural populations. They will work to expand and improve behavioral health support, stress management, and suicide prevention for farmers, ranchers, ag-workers, and their families across Colorado.
Photo from L to R: Julie Elliott, M.A. LPC (Western Region), Jim Kuemmerle, MSW, BCD, LCSW (Eastern Region), and Kirsten Wulfsberg, LPC (Mountain Region).
Welcome Jada Ruff to Nebraska AgrAbility. She is a new Nebraska Extension educator focused on food, nutrition, and health. Jada serves the Buffalo County area which includes the Kearney community. She is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney where she earned her bachelor's degree in exercise science and master's degree in public communication. Jada shares, "I am excited about the opportunity to work with AgrAbility as it provides me the opportunity to meet new people and collaborate with others. I am also excited to help the team with social media and spread the word about AgrAbility and how it can help many farmers, ranchers, and their families." Welcome Jada!
Congratulations to Stephanie Brewer Cook who partnered with TN AgrAbility in 1995 and continues to promote TN AgrAbility, for receiving a special Lifetime Award from the disABILITY Resource Center at their Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Anniversary Celebration luncheon celebrating 33 years since the act's creation. More
Elizabeth "Ellie" Gandara-Castillo was honored for her service to the project. Ellie has worked with Texas AgrAbility as a program coordinator for migrant and seasonal farmworkers for the past 4 years. We would like to thank her for her time and dedication to Texas AgrAbility and the migrant and Hispanic farmworker population. We wish Ellie the best of luck in her future endeavors.
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, [email protected]

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