December 2022
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
2023 NTW Updates:

  • REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Visit and click the Register tab. Early-bird pricing ends February 17, and registration closes March 13.
  • Farmer stipend applications were due December 15th. However, the NAP will continue to accept applications for a short time on a first-come, first-served basis. The application can be found on the NTW website on the Stipends tab.
  • A tentative schedule is also available at There is still time to submit an application to display a poster. The Call for Posters can be accessed HERE
  • Please continue to reach out to businesses and organizations that might want to participate either as an exhibitor or a sponsor. The exhibitor/sponsor Google form can be accessed HERE. If a paper version is needed to share, it can be found on the NTW website under the Exhibitor or Sponsor tabs. Please feel free to share these links
  • Don't forget to start thinking about auction items. Items can be shipped ahead of time to: More

Tess McKeel - -585.447.9015
or JoBeth Rath - - 585.402.2059
(Photo courtesy of WA State Department of Agriculture)
National AgrAbility recently produced a new video featuring Laurie Hayn - who is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the 2023 NTW - and another featuring Steve Swain. Both are available for viewing on the NAP YouTube channel and for download by AgrAbility staff at
November's monthly Zoom discussion, "Safety During Farm Visits," was recorded and is archived at
A regional workshop was held in Reno at the Silver Legacy Resort November 29th - December 1st. There were 21 people in attendance from 8 different states/territories including three participants from Guam. More
The AgrAbility/North Central FRSAN webinar "Corn, Cattle, and a Flask of Whiskey: Understanding stress and substance use in agricultural and rural populations" is now archived at Thank you to Chad Reznicek for his presentation.
Bill Field and Chuck Baldwin were involved in the national agricultural Extension conference, "Connecting with Amish and Other Plain Communities," in Shipshewana, IN, November 1-3. More
Ed Sheldon, Chuck Baldwin, and John Jamerson (LIFE Project 2501 grant director) presented AgrAbility and the LIFE Project at the National Black Farmers Association annual conference in McComb, Mississippi, November 4-5. More than 550 socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers attended the conference. More
The National AgrAbility Advisory Team met in Indianapolis and virtually on December 13 & 14. Composed of professionals from agriculture, rehabilitation-related organizations, and current or former AgrAbility clients, the NAP Advisory Team contributes to short- and long-range strategic planning and enhances networking capacity. A total of 25 advisors, consultants, and staff members participated.
Toolbox Spotlight
A Topper Lift System for Pickups allows users to independently store wheelchairs in the truck bed. The system operates by hand-held remote only when cab door is open. It operates in conjunction with a wheelchair hoist and power truck seat lift. The topper lift system first lifts/lowers the cargo bed topper; the wheelchair hoist lifts the chair into/out of the bed; and the power seat lift rotates out the door for transfer to or from the chair.
The Alaska AgrAbility project participated in the 2022 Alaska Farm Convention & Trade Show, which was held at the Egan Center. The event started on Friday, November 11, Veterans Day, with a presentation of the colors by the UAA Army Color Guard in recognition of those with military service. More
California (affiliate)
California AgrAbility staff presented Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper suicide prevention training in Spanish at the 8th annual Latino Farmer Conference in San Diego, California. More

California AgrAbility's Esmeralda Mandujano presented at the AgrAbility regional workshop in Reno, Nevada. Esmeralda's presentation, "Applications of Cultural Humility in WRASAP and AgrAbility Service Delivery," highlighted two approaches to engage with community members as service representatives. More
The past few years have reflected a new openness to discuss mental health issues on the farm. Those problems have always been there, hidden in the felt shame of stigma. Today, however, there is new light shed on the subject and ag folks are at the forefront of taking it head-on. More
Florida AgrAbility hired a case coordinator, Lindsey Head, who will be the key staff for the program. Lindsey completed orientation in mid-November and attended the AgrAbility regional training November 29th-December 1st.

Florida AgrAbility began drafting protocols for establishing an advisory board and continued development of digital and tangible products for upcoming outreach activities.

An application was submitted and is currently pending review to the UF IRB by Florida AgrAbility to obtain approval for data collection related to outreach and evaluation activities. The Florida AgrAbility website ( and e-mail ( ) are fully functional now.
Georgia AgrAbility hosted a full day course for new and experienced farmers to learn how to safely operate a tractor. The workshop was held at the University of Georgia's Mountain Research and Education Center and focused on many topics that are unique to farmers operating tractors... More
Staff attended the 2022 Growing Together Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference.

Georgia AgrAbility staff gave a presentation titled "Working with Rural Populations in Agriculture" to faculty and staff at the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences on November 30th. The presentation featured the work of AgrAbility and the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the state of Georgia.
Georgia AgrAbility has teamed up with Georgia Agriculture Wellness Alliance, a coalition of farmers, nonprofits, colleges and universities, health organizations, state agencies, agricultural commissions/associations, and agribusiness specialists ... More
AgrAbility Veteran Outreach Coordinator Joe Ricker hosted staff members from the Indiana Grown program at his east-central Indiana farm, At Ease Orchard, on November 22. Indiana Grown is a statewide branding initiative to promote Indiana agricultural products that is administered by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). More

Paul Jones presented "Understanding Disabilities" to Purdue's AGR 201 Communicating Across Culture class, and Joe Ricker gave on overview of veterans, disabilities, and agriculture.

Paul Jones also gave a webinar overview of AgrAbility to Purdue Extension educators during the "virtual day" of the 2023 Purdue Extension Professional Development Conference.
Registration for Boots-2-Bushels 2023 is open to all beginning farmers, with priority to veterans, their family members, and farmers with a disability. New this season is a recruiting effort to include farmer veterans from throughout New England to join the program at a reduced fee.
As part of Maine AgrAbility's outreach to Maine's fishermen, staff published another post highlighting dynamic stretching for fishermen. Staff is developing a boat-friendly waterproof poster that captures the series of published stretches.
The Michigan State University Alpha Gamma Rho TAU Chapter (MSU AGR) donated part of the proceeds from their hog roast to Michigan AgrAbility. The partnership with MSU AGR over the years has helped Michigan AgrAbility purchase equipment for farmers. More
This month, Missouri's efforts included educating participants about ways in which to avoid secondary injuries, shared information with stakeholders, assisted farmers and their rural families with individualized consultative services, and facilitated project awareness about MO AgrAbility's programs, services, and activities. More

Brenda Schreck and Elizabeth Picking, both MU Extension regional specialists in livestock and who are regional AgrAbility outreach coordinators, focused their efforts on the early identification of farm and rural families who needed on-farm services. More
A few key points on 4-H Save Your Brain (SYB):
  • Staff recruited 8 new 4-H SYB ambassadors and three new volunteers.
  • Staff scheduled another "Train the Trainer" for January. More

Missouri AgrAbility news stories reached more than three million through state and national publications, web pages, blogs, newspapers, and social media sites. More

Missouri AgrAbility focused their social media efforts on program promotion, opportunities for farmers, and health, safety, and wellness tips. Make sure to like and follow Missouri AgrAbility, @MOAgrAbility, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Lincoln University Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program outreach workers Nalee Yang and Angela Brattin shared AgrAbility information at an event with Hmong farmers celebrating the Hmong New Year.
4-H Save Your Brain Program and Missouri AgrAbility were highlighted by Maureen Cunningham with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) at an exhibit during the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) Convention November 17 and 18, 2022. More
Emily Jacobson represented Nebraska AgrAbility at the Stand Up for Veterans Conference in November. There were over 50 veterans in attendance. More

Rod Johnson attended the Gateway Farm and Ranch Expo in Kearney, Nebraska, on November 16 and 17. More
Emily also represented Nebraska AgrAbility at the Ag-Ceptional Women's Conference. Over 400 women attended. The conference provided opportunities for women to learn about current farming and ranching practices, mental health awareness and much more.

The Nebraska AgrAbility team is making plans to have an in-person meeting in December. The team will take this opportunity to reflect on 2022, evaluate resources, and plan for 2023.
New Mexico
New Mexico AgrAbility's OTs Janet DeWeese and Mary Thelander Hill have submitted for CEU approval to OT and PT state boards to train rehabilitation professionals across NM on the resources for agricultural workers.

NM AgrAbility's OT and hand specialist Patricia Siegle is working with a UNM graduate assistant to create tiny educational opportunities for injury prevention.

The NM AgrAbility farm site completed their first Mandy's Farm apprenticeship cycle and on December 2nd, with its final workday, celebrated a successful first growing season!

New Mexico AgrAbility's winter harvest newsletter will be coming soon.
North Carolina
NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Durham, NC, on November 5-7. The conference was attended by 748 people who learned, gained resources, and networked. NC AgrAbility talked directly to some of them, and all were exposed to the needs of farmers with disabilities and the resources provided.
November 9, 2022, NC AgrAbility participated in the 7th Annual Veteran Standdown at the National Guard Armory in New Bern, NC. The event was well attended by many veterans, and several resources were available to provide information and guide them in their topics of interest.
Ohio AgrAbility staff are grateful for another productive and safe year working with Ohio farmers and their families, stakeholders, and Vocational Rehabilitation colleagues. OAP staff are especially grateful for each other - the commitment, expertise, compassion, energy, and creativity that the team displays every day are a blessing. OAP staff are also very grateful for colleagues and collaborators across all of AgrAbility.
November in Pennsylvania was filled with fall temperatures and outreach events and presentations that took the staff around the state and beyond - to Indiana!

Abbie Spackman and Linda Fetzer attended the Connecting with Amish and Other Plain Communities conference in Shipshewana, Indiana. More
The same dynamic duo of Abbie Spackman and Linda Fetzer attended the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's 72nd Annual Meeting in Hershey, PA. During the event, staff demonstrated assistive technology to attendees during the health fair and provided information on AgrAbility services. More

Project Director Dr. Suzanna Windon presented informative sessions on several topics connected to AgrAbility throughout the month. More
Merry Christmas from TN AgrAbility!

Tennessee AgrAbility staff are grateful to work together with an amazing AgrAbility team and spend time with their Extension family at the 2022 Extension Conference in Chattanooga!

TNAP co-hosted the Southern Ag Exchange Network (SAgE), rebranded from Southern Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network ( S-FRSAN), informational session at the 2022 Extension Conference. More

TNAP celebrated the ultimate Volunteers! Thanks to all the veterans and those currently serving for their service and all the sacrifices they make for the nation's freedoms! More
TNAP attended the 2022 Wilson County Women in Ag Summit. Staff set up a display and spoke a few minutes on the AgrAbility program. More

A Carroll County TN farmer traded in his buckets for a UTV automatic feeder. The row-crop/livestock farmer suffers from complications due to diabetes. More
USDA NRCS did a success story titled "USDA, Texas AgrAbility and Partners Helping Veterans Find their Mission and Purpose in Agriculture" for Veterans Day. The story highlights Texas AgrAbility & BattleGround to Breaking Ground's work in assisting veterans to get started in agriculture. Check out the full story and video here.
Cheryl Grenwelge and Erin Kimbrough provided an on-farm assessment training to 25 students at the UT Tyler School of Medicine. The OT and medical students are part of a rural health providers program to work in rural settings upon graduation. They were provided hands-on training in conducting farm assessments and making recommendations for assistive technology and task modifications.

The Intro to Agriculture Boot Camp will be hosted January 9-13 in College Station. Texas AgrAbility will provide training on vocational rehab, farm safety, and Texas AgrAbility services.

Texas AgrAbility hosted the first session in the Lunch & Learn Series for service providers. The session "Services for Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities" was attended by 10 vocational rehabilitation counselors. The session was recorded and can be viewed HERE.
Makenzie Thomas attended the Hardin County Veterans Resource Fair in collaboration with the local extension office. Attendees were provided with information on becoming an AgrAbility client and the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.
Utah (affiliate)
AgrAbility of Utah staff attended the Beaver River Watershed Tour and Pesticide Training Workshop and presented to more than 50 farmers and ranchers on Nov. 1. This workshop was sponsored by Utah State University Extension.

On Nov. 11, staff set up a booth and visited with many of the 160 participants of the West Central States Wool Growers Convention in Park City, Utah. Wool growers from Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho attended this three-day convention.

AgrAbility of Utah was able to present to 23 members of the Cache Interagency Council on Nov. 28 in Logan, UT.
Another fantastic month of networking is in the books for AgrAbility Virginia. Staff were busy with outreach and presentations that included: Virginia Cooperative Extension Women Increasing Skills and Education (WISE), More
It has been a busy month for the Washington AgrAbility co-coordinators, filled with lots of outreach and new clients. The co-coordinators attended multiple conferences around the state where they displayed various AT pieces and handed out information to farmers, farm workers, and ag professionals about AgrAbility. The co-coordinators are hoping to grow their service area greatly with these interactions.

Emily Whittier exhibited at the Tilth Alliance Conference and the Pacific NW Vegetable Association Conference. Combined, the events were attended by 1000 individuals.

Deb Eidsness staffed an AgrAbility booth at the Focus on Farming Conference attended by 150 people.

Alyssa Wade exhibited for AgrAbility at the Washington Cattlemen's Conference attended by 400 individuals.

Debbie Fredricks and Alyssa Wade exhibited at the Farm Bureau Conference and conducted a QPR Training. The event was attended by 350 people.

Emily also hosted a Farm Stress presentation where she incorporated AgrAbility and passed out materials to the farmers in attendance.

The Washington AgrAbility team has three new clients this month and many new potential clients from conference interactions.
AgrAbility for Africa
AgrAbility for Africa staff are currently working on an Africa disability funding policy assessment survey paper to better understand and communicate disability services needs and access. More
It is common knowledge that persons with disabilities (PWD) living in Africa face many barriers, but gaps in service are exacerbated for those living on Islands, as social inclusion challenges are often multiplied. Many islands have little or no infrastructure, and transportation is expensive and very often unreliable. More
Florida AgrAbility welcomes Lindsey Head as case coordinator.
Texas AgrAbility wishes Dr. Faye McGuire, OTD, the best of luck in her new venture. Dr. McGuire started with Texas AgrAbility as an intern through her doctoral capstone project. She has been a great asset to the Texas AgrAbility team and BattleGround to Breaking Ground program. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Click titles below for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.

Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,

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