February 2020
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
NTW Updates

Don't get stuck without a hotel room. The hotel block at the Madison Concourse Hotel closes February 25 and the block at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace closes February 21. You can reserve your hotel room online HERE. You can also call to make your reservation:
  Madison Concourse Hotel: 800-356-8293 and give them reference code 805513.
  Hilton Madison Monona Terrace: 877-510-7465 and give them group code Agra.

Other things "To Do" before the NTW
  1. Register. You can get to registration through the NTW website HERE
  2. While you are on the NTW website don't forget to check out the great tours that are planned (additional fee applies).
  3. Register as an AgrAbility exhibitor. This is an option on the registration site. You can contact Goodwill staff if you have already registered online but would like to have an AgrAbility display.
  4. Suggest vendors or sponsors. You can find information for both by clicking on either option- vendor or sponsor.
  5. Put together your state raffle basket. These have been a hit the last two years. Put together a basket with items from your state or any theme that you would like and let's see whose basket gets the most tickets.
  6. Solicit auction items. We need auction items to help support the cost of our farmer guests. You can mail your items ahead of time, if needed, to Amanda Harguth, 460 Henry Mall, Room B20, Madison, WI 53706. Please indicate that it is for the NTW and also include the attached item description form.
  7. Start thinking about the snacks you would like to share in the hospitality suite. 

If you have any questions, contact us anytime.
Tess McKeel - [email protected] -585.447.9015
or JoBeth Rath - [email protected] - 585.402.2059
The 2020 AgrAbility VIRTUAL National Training Workshop logged a near-record combined attendance of 238. Archived recording of all presentations and presentation files are available at www.agrability.org/online-training/virtualntw. Many thanks to the presenters, especially those from SRAPs: Farzaneh Khorsandi (CA), Esmeralda Mandujano (CA), Ned Stoller (MI), along with Chuck Baldwin and Ed Sheldon of the NAP.
The NAP is preparing to reprint Arthritis and Gardening. If you are interested in pre-ordering copies, please email [email protected] by Friday, February 28.

The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, sponsored by NAP collaborating partner the Farmer Veteran Coalition, is accepting applications until March 6. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000, though funds do not go directly to the veteran, but rather to third-party vendors for items the veteran has identified. Visit www.farmvetco.org/fvfellowship for more information and the application form.
Toolbox Spotlight
The AguaCheck Wireless Stock Tank Sensor is designed to allow one to monitor a remote water tank, which includes status reports daily and low-water-level or rapid-water-loss alerts instantly, all via text messages. Among the cited benefits: knowing when to turn a pump on and off without wasting time or overflowing a tank, lowering pump electricity cost, detecting a broken float valve or other leak before the tank is drained, and enabling water usage planning and rationing.
Springtime in Alaska and it's 20 below! Even though there has been extreme cold weather in the great state of Alaska this January, it has not stopped the AgrAbility team from pressing forward with many outreach events and engagements. More

AgrAbility in Alaska is beginning to gain further name recognition and awareness.
In January the following events had AgrAbility representation:

  • January 21-23, Alaska AgrAbility had a booth at the Alaska Public Health Association Conference-Alaska Health Summit 2020 in Anchorage. More

  • AK AgrAbility participated in the Alaska Young Fisherman's Summit in Juneau January 21-23. More

  • Washington State University and Alaska AgrAbility co-sponsored a Women in Agriculture event at the Anchorage, AK, site January 25. The theme of this virtual engagement was "Healthy Farms" and was all about mental health and stress management. More

  • Staff had a booth January 30-February at the Alaska Peony Growers Association (APGA) 2020Winter Conference in Fairbanks. More
California AgrAbility presented at the 2020 AgrAbility Virtual National Training Workshop. Dr. Farzaneh Khorsandi presented on AgrAbility and agricultural all-terrain vehicle safety. Esmeralda Mandujano gave a presentation titled "Applications of Cultural Humility in Everyday AgrAbility." More

California AgrAbility staff attended the Center for Occupational Health and Safety (COEH) Builds Bridges Conference. Attendees explored in depth the ergonomic and occupation safety hazards of warehouses. More
California AgrAbility staff did outreach at the Zenith Ag Safety and Compliance Summit in Fresno. The summit brought together over 300 farmworkers, farm supervisors, and farm owners, to learn about agricultural health and safety topics and technologies. More
Georgia AgrAbility staff attended the 2020 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Georgia, January 10-12. The event is the largest educational conference and trade show in the southeastern United States that unites growers, vendors, and suppliers. More
January 9, Georgia AgrAbility staff attended and presented at the Southern Center for FSMA Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. Shown is Rebecca Brightwell presenting on her grant project "Produce Food Safety Training for Military Veterans."
AgrAbility of Illinois and University of Illinois Extension will be hosting the Illinois Ag Mental Health Summit at the Illinois Farm Bureau on March 4 in Bloomington, IL. The Summit seeks to identify and showcase the mental health and stress management resources available to farmers in Illinois. More
Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, staffed an exhibit at the 2020 Illiana Vegetable Growers Symposium at Teibel's Restaurant in Schererville, Indiana. More

The 2020 Fort Wayne Farm Show was held in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on January 14-16. AgrAbility was one of 1,100 exhibitors covering three exhibit halls in the facility. More

Dr. Robin Adams, Purdue professor of engineering education, invited Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, to participate as a diverse subject matter expert for a "safety" engagement session with engineering students. More
Kansas AgrAbility AT Ag Specialists Karin Rasmussen and Lesa Clubine presented AgrAbility during a recent Farm Financial Skills for Kansas Women in Agriculture hosted by K-State Research and Extension. More
KAP staff teamed up with the students from the Kansas State University Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Department at the Topeka Farm Show. KAP used their spinning wheel to encourage attendees to participate in a game of trivia, which provided the staff an opportunity to share KAP and other fun agriculture-related topics. More
NEW! The Maine AgrAbility Blog: Gotta Lotta Livin' To Do! A blog series that deals with issues surrounding aging, farming, and quality of life. Staff will be adding new blog posts twice a month. Check it out!

Maine AgrAbility Project Director Richard Brzozowski recently finalized the following University of Maine Cooperative Extension publications which can be useful for career exploration and skill building: More
Another publication just finished is Preparing for Agricultural Worksite Assessments. This was adapted from the AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians program. The goal is to better prepare farmers and service providers for an on-site AgrAbility visit .
Maine AgrAbility staff and advisory council members shared the three-day schedule providing coverage at the AgrAbility booth at the Annual Agricultural Trades show in Augusta January 14-16. More

On January 15, Ellen Gibson presented information about AgrAbility and universal design as part of the Beginning Farmers Resource Network and Maine's session, "Increasing your Scale and Efficiency with Mechanization".

On January 18, Richard Brzozowski exhibited Maine AgrAbility information at the Downeast Agriculture Conference: Land-Sea Connections. About 80 people attended the day-long conference in Machias, Maine.
On January 22, Kelley Spencer of Maine Assistive Technology Solutions shared AgrAbility information at the annual meeting for the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association and the Maine Arborist Association.

Mental health resources compiled through AgrAbility efforts were shared as part of the January 2020 Farm and Food System Newsletter. More
January was a time for Michigan AgrAbility staff to "catch their breath" after a busy 2019 and to perform needed administrative tasks.

Staff did not just "sit at the computer" ... Michigan AgrAbility's own Ned Stoller presented "Low-Tech Assistive Technology for Farmers Worldwide" at the 2020 AgrAbility Virtual National Training Workshop. More
The University of Missouri Extension Missouri AgrAbility program in collaboration with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program (ISFOP) were busy throughout the month of January!

Using the Jesup Wagon mobile teaching method, Karen Funkenbusch and Debi Kelly, both of MU Extension, and Nahshon Bishop, Susan Jaster, and David Middleton of LUCE ISFOP, brought modern agricultural tools and research-based information to the Annual Great Plains Growers Conference (GPGC) January 8 - January 10 in St. Joseph, Missouri. More

In addition, the following AgrAbility topics and hands-on demonstrations were provided to participants: More
Karen Funkenbusch presented about Missouri AgrAbility and Missouri's Show-Me Strong Farm Families mental health resources for Missouri's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Grant Program (BFRDP) in Union, Missouri, on January 28.
Jim Shepard and David Middleton, both of LUCE ISFOP, traveled to the Bootheel of rural Missouri to educate Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, and Mississippi farmers at the Ag Expo in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, January 3 - February 1, 2020. More
Maureen Cunningham, Brain Injury Association of Missouri executive director, discussed the Missouri AgrAbility Project during the Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Facilities January 2020 meeting in Jefferson City with executives and program staff of various rehabilitation programs across Missouri.
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy (UMKC SOP), a Missouri AgrAbility collaborator, provided point-of-care health screenings and education at the Great Plains Growers Conference held at Missouri Western State University on January 10. More
The Nebraska AgrAbility team has been busy this past month (seriously, where did the time go?). Between farm expos, client visits, and preparing for the upcoming expos and advisory board meeting, time has just flown.
Staff attended the two-day York Ag Expo. Good connections were made and discussions were held with many farmers and ranchers about the program.

A staff member attended the Northeast Nebraska Farm & Ag Expo. Staff hope to represent Nebraska AgrAbility at this event again next year.

Staff members attended the Virtual National Training Workshop in January.

AgrAbility was promoted at several workshops and programs given by Extension staff in January. It is now standard practice to give each participant a brochure and do a one-minute pitch for the program at whatever program is happening. Often this results in further questions and interest in the AgrAbility program.
North Carolina
On January 27 - 28, North Carolina AgrAbility participated at the Peach Growers Society workshop and annual meeting at Moore County Cooperative Extension. NC AgrAbility is working closely with this group in evaluating ergonomic risk factors and determining how to prevent injuries while pruning and training orchards.
On January 30, NC AgrAbility participated as a presenter at the 2020 NC AgriShop Series at the Union County Cooperative Extension. The event was attended by around 25 farmers who learned about managing disabilities in agriculture.
Ohio AgrAbility has recently partnered with the OSU College of Nursing and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to form the Caregiver Support Network to present a planned series of workshops and webinars for caregivers, advocates, and service providers. To make the workshops easily accessible to people across Ohio, OH AgrAbility is hosting the workshop at several local sites across Ohio. More

Ohio AgrAbility (OAP) has long enjoyed a good working relationship with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), the state vocational rehabilitation agency, but even good relationships can be improved and strengthened through teamwork. More
AgrAbility PA staff kicked off 2020 by exhibiting at two of the state's largest agricultural events of the year in the month of January: Keystone Farm Show and 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show. More
Project Assistant Abbie Spackman showcased AgrAbility PA at Keystone Farm Show. This three-day event is the largest commercial farm equipment and service provider show in the state! More
Kendra Martin, marketing & outreach coordinator, collaborated with presenters at the PA Farm Show's "So You Wanna Be A Farmer" exhibit, which included resources for veterans in agriculture from Rodale Institute, Farmer Veteran Coalition, PA Veteran Farming Project, USDA/NRCS, Delaware Valley University, Steve A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, Saint Joseph's University, Kitchen Table Consultants, and PA Dept. of Agriculture. More

"IG Takeover." AgrAbility PA and the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) swapped Instagram accounts for a week. This provided both groups with an opportunity to raise awareness and share examples of the partnership. Visit @AgrAbilityPA or @Pennsylvaniaatf on Instagram to view the posts and great pictures!!
Cold winter months bring lots of networking opportunities at conferences. Tennessee AgrAbility Project (TNAP) exhibited at the 10th annual TN Veterans Business Association Expo. More

TNAP exhibited at the annual Tennessee Cattleman's Conference.
TN has partnered with KY Department of Agriculture and with TN Association of Rescue Squads (TARS) to help farmers and emergency management staff build networks and trainings across state. TNAP exhibited at the East TN Grain Conference and hosted Brian Robinson, the TARS state training coordinator, who presented on grain and equipment safety. More
Five TN farmers and graduates of TN New Farmer Academy and two TNAP clients attended the educational Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with two staff.

Thank you, National AgrAbility, for the educational Virtual National Training Workshop on disability in agriculture, and the six webinars in three days: ATV Safety, Cultural Humility, Low-Tech AT, USDA AgVets and Stress Assistance Programs, Collaboration with AT Act Projects, and Outreach to Socially Disadvantaged Groups.

At the upcoming February 20-22 Pick TN Conference, Finis Stribling, TNAP staff with the TN New Farmer Academy, will be highlighting partners and program briefs from TN State University Extension, University of Tennessee Extension, TN AgrAbility, TN Department of Agriculture/Homegrown by Heroes/Pick TN Products, and USDA agency programs available for new and beginning farms in Tennessee.

The Pick TN Conference is the next major step in formally creating the TN state chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. The chapter organizing committee will present the proposed board members and officers for the chapter and discuss planned programs for the next two years of the chapter.
Rhonda Miller and Randall Bagley presented at the Utah State Horticultural Association annual convention in Spanish Fork, UT, on January 23. Over 80 fruit growers and horticulturists attended the convention.

On January 29, AgrAbility of Utah presented to University of Utah's occupational therapy students during their weekly brown bag luncheon. Eighteen students attended the presentation.
AgrAbility of Utah staff members Connor Dyreng, Michael Porter, and Randall Bagley set up a display table at the FUSION Conference and Ag Expo in St. George, UT, January 30-31. The FUSION Ag trade show is the largest agricultural show in Utah and was attended by more than 400 participants.

AgrAbility of Utah presented to the staff of Red Rock Center for Independence on January 30 in St. George, UT. The Red Rock Center for Independence is one of six independent living centers in the state of Utah and has five satellite locations. Red Rock Center for Independence covers nine counties in southwestern Utah.
AgrAbility Virginia participated in several professional development trainings at the 2020 Virginia Cooperative Extension In-Service Winter Conference from January 28 to 30 in Roanoke.

The AgrAbility Virginia team conducted outreach to farmers at the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council (VFGC) 2020 Winter Forage Conferences held on January 21, Wytheville; January 22, Chatham; and January 24t, Weyers Cave.

AgrAbility Virginia offered invaluable support to the completion of the second phase of the Affordable Flexible Robotics to Aid Farmers with Mobility Limitations project through the active participants' recruitment for the farmers' focus interviews conducted across the state with the objective to gather farmers' perceptions on the wearable robotic technology under development at Virginia Tech.

AgrAbility Virginia continues its active partnership with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Farm Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative with webinars, resource development, and trainings with an emphasis on youth safety and mental health for the farming community.
The first-year Washington State AgrAbility Project (WSAP) is currently in the process of hiring a coordinator to conduct educational trainings and worksite assessments, including for the Latinx farming community.
WSAP recently hosted a table at the Country Living Expo in Stanwood, WA, with over 1,100 attendees. On display were dozens of assistive technology devices that will form the basis of multiple physical and behavioral health Lending Library Kits to be distributed statewide. More
WSAP was also presented at the Western Washington Seed Workshop held at the Washington State University Mt. Vernon Research and Extension Center with farmers, seed companies, and other agencies present. Eighty-nine percent of attendees reported hearing about AgrAbility for the first time.

Washington State AgrAbility Project team members are headed to Madison in March and looking forward to connecting with other programs.
Wisconsin AgrAbility has a busy February ahead. The staff is planning to attend the WI Farmers Union Conference, WI Corn and Soy Expo, and the MOSES Conference. They are also busy planning WI AgrAbility's annual summit and looking for new ways to reach out to socially disadvantaged farmers.

WI AgrAbility recently created a new mobile-friendly website template. See www.agrability.bse.wisc.edu. Staff members have also recently updated their state brochure.
Maine AgrAbility said farewell and good luck to Marie DeFranca in January. As part of Marie's six-month temporary position with us, she was vital in seeing through the completion of the pre-ETS summer work experience and actively helping youth explore work opportunities. Marie's knowledge of working with youth with disabilities and her willingness to help make connections for this part of the project was appreciated.
The Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) welcomes Will Matus as its new program associate. Matus will provide information about the Missouri AgrAbility Project to potential AgrAbility clients through education, direct support, and marketing activities.
National AgrAbility Project
Ed Sheldon joined the national AgrAbility staff in September 2019. His primary roles include working with socially disadvantaged and veteran farmer projects, program evaluation, and extension emergency and disaster preparedness efforts. Ed previously worked with the Breaking New Ground Resource Center as a graduate student in the early 1990’s examining the viability of alternative farm-based enterprises for farmers and ranchers with disabilities. Since that time, he has served as an agricultural extension educator in two Indiana counties, worked with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and owned and operated a landscape contracting company for over 15 years.
North Carolina
Please join NC AgrAbility in welcoming our new graduate assistant Hagan Kiser. Hagan is an occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) student who is completing her doctoral experiential component (DEC) with North Carolina AgrAbility.

She obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in community and therapeutic recreation in 2017 and decided to further her education at Mary Baldwin University where she will graduate with her OTD degree in May of 2020. She brings an abundance of knowledge in ergonomics, environmental modifications, assistive technology, returning to work, and much more that will benefit the NC AgrAbility team and the clients that we serve.
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, [email protected]

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