June 2020
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
AgrAbility Virtual State Fair!
Since many state fairs around the country are being canceled, AgrAbility will be holding a Virtual State Fair in October! This social media event will highlight one SRAP per day in addition to the National AgrAbility Project and other AgrAbility-related resources and stakeholders. Look for details coming soon.

AgrAbility Virtual New Staff Training is on its way. Since new SRAP staff members were not able to participate in new staff training at the NTW in March, the NAP is recording web versions of new staff training presentations via WebEx. The first installations of these web recordings should be available next week.
The NAP was informed that its video AgrAbility: Restoring Hope, Renewing Productivity with Eric Beckman was chosen to receive a 2020 ASABE Educational Aid Blue Ribbon Award. Many thanks to all who contributed, especially Nebraska AgrAbility.

The NAP is planning a webinar on farm succession planning, particularly for underserved populations. The tentative date/time is Wednesday, July 8 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Look for details coming soon.
The NAP was saddened (and shocked) to hear that due to a realignment of priorities at the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), AbleData will be discontinued on September 27th, 2020. AbleData has been a premier assistive technology database for decades and is a non-funded partner with the NAP. Content is still available for now at https://abledata.acl.gov/.
Toolbox Spotlight
Things are really heating up outside! Worn like a vest, the ExtremeMist Personal Cooling System generates a cloud of cooling moisture that can reportedly reduce the ambient temperature around face, neck, and upper body by up to 30º. The system consists of a 2-liter-capacity hydration backpack and a misting unit, which includes a rechargeable battery-powered pump plus connectors, hoses, clips, and nozzles. 
May brought more virtual engagements with Assistive Technology of Alaska (ATLA) offering free live webinars on various topics More

By request, DeShana York also did a virtual presentation on May 7 for the Anchorage Garden Club group to inform the group about the AK AgrAbility project and resources.
Staff participated in the "Stress, Resilience, and Resources: Responding to the Impacts of COVID-19 on Farms" webinar presented by Dr. Leslie Forstadt and Maine AgrAbility. During this pandemic, many farmers are feeling more stress... More
California AgrAbility staff attended the Mexican Consulate Health Window Providers meeting via Zoom. More
Staff continue to attend AgriSafe's Think Tank webinars. The Zenith presented COVID-19 resources to address communication by promoting action, being credible, expressing empathy, communicating with respect, and reaching out by looking for new ways to communicate. More
On May 28th, Georgia AgrAbility hosted a workshop featuring Dr. Therese Willkomm called "Creating Low Cost AT Solutions for Upper Extremities". The participants loved seeing all of the new innovative items that Dr. Willkomm has created!

Please join GA AgrAbility for the remaining two webinars in the series
  1. Tuesday, June 23rd 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. "Creating Low Cost Assistive Technology Solutions for Lower Extremities" https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1068880740045609228
  2. Tuesday, July 28th 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. "New Fabrication tools, materials, and techniques for making AT solutions in minutes" https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/230539407750147084
Staff attended the Maine AgrAbility webinar "Stress, Resilience, and Resources: Responding to the Impacts of COVID - 19 on Farms" and were thankful to hear information on how to assist farmers during the pandemic with the many stressors that they are facing.
Farm Corps, a partnership of Illinois organizations (including IL AgrAbility) and agricultural entities, is working to address the labor gap caused by COVID-19. The program pairs furloughed or laid off veterans with producers across the state of IL who have an immediate need for on-the-farm labor. Additional information can be found by clicking here.
May was filled with catching up on projects and answering VR farm assessment questions and supplying quotes. More

As a part of the AgrAbility team, staff have attended weekly zoom meetings with Purdue ag & natural resources Extension educators for updates on Covid-19 and Extension activities. They have also taken part in multiple webinars related to Covid-19 and conducted follow-up calls and e-mail communications with clients and vendors.
During the stay-at-home order in Kansas, Kansas AgrAbility Project (KAP) staff, along with partner AT specialists, have been participating in a weekly Zoom meeting (AT & Caffeine) that allows all staff to share their resources and experiences that include videos related to mental health during the pandemic ( click here for videos), podcasts, and most recently, AgrAbility in Georgia's series.

Karin Rasmussen and other KAP staff have found the shared materials and strategies from recent webinars on coping with stress, anxiety, and depression, have been in high demand during phone conversations, texts, and video chats with farmers and ranchers and their families. More

KAP staff are working on "Welcome to KAP" folders to give to all new clients. More
Lesa Clubine, AT ag specialist and quilter, took advantage of her quilting skills and lots of scrap fabric to provide home-made masks with filter inserts for the local nursing facility staff. More
KAP AT Ag Specialist Cassie Ramon brought gardening to a new level. She constructed raised beds along with an arch to grow vines and a bench for her family to share when working her plants. More

KAP recently released two new publications: a new KAP trifold brochure and a bulletin board card. More
With the recent restrictions to travel and event cancelations, Maine AgrAbility staff have been busy developing webinars on relevant topics.

On May 14, Project Coordinator Lani Carlson presented "Maine AgrAbility 101" as part of the "Employment for ME Employment Services Workforce Development System" monthly webinar series. There were 78 attendees learning about the program, resources, and network partners.

On May 20, 2020, staff hosted the webinar "Stress, Resilience, and Resources: Responding to the Impacts of Covid-19 on Farms". More

On June 2, Maine AgrAbility presented "Arthritis and Agriculture: The Importance of Protecting Your Joints". More

ME AgrAbility has an upcoming webinar, "The Essentials of Accessibility: School and Community Gardens", scheduled for June 16, 2020. More

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) has redesigned their Level 1 OT field work experience for spring 2020. Three Maine AgrAbility staffers have delivered interactive webinars to the students about AgrAbility farm visits (Brie Weisman, OT/L), assistive technology (Kelley Spencer, COT, ATP) and adaptive driving (Ketra Crosson, OT/L).

Staff have recently finalized publication of the "Veteran rack card" as well as a "Checklist for Veterans Who are Farming" to help veterans become familiar with informational resources/agencies/organizations in Maine. These new resources are available on the Network & Resources page of Maine AgrAbility's website.

A couple of other recent publications Maine AgrAbility helped to develop are:
  • Bulletin #1063, "The Benefits and Drawbacks of Farm Work Experience in Maine"
  • Bulletin #2021, "Why Beekeeping in Maine Might Be a Suitable Enterprise for Persons with Disabilities"
Ned Stoller from Michigan AgrAbility has become a contributing member to instructables, a website that hosts a platform for people who like to make things (like Ned does) and encourages community members to explore the site and share projects so others may benefit from them (Ned certainly fits this!). More

Michigan AgrAbility continues to share resources with their clients and visitors to the Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page. More

Michigan AgrAbility's own Ned Stoller rocked the home-made hay bale dolly on the Michigan AgrAbility You Tube Channel. More

Need to climb into the tractor and want a fold up assistive technology step? Well, the Fold-up Tractor Step is for you! More
Missouri AgrAbility collaborated with the University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program, USDA Farm Service Agency, Missouri Farm Bureau, statewide cooperators, stakeholders and farmers with disabilities and their family members in launching a successful statewide social media campaign promoting mental health awareness and suicide prevention. More

Karen Funkenbusch and Maureen Cunningham participated in the AgrAbility National Training Workshop planning committee meeting.

Funkenbusch also facilitated a meeting with the Missouri Aging and Disability Research Network committee to discuss resources available to offer aging clients who may be struggling during these uncertain times, rapid-fire COVID-19 response grants, and potential research opportunities.

Missouri AgrAbility Project Director Karen Funkenbusch shared about resources and programs for Missouri farmers and ranchers with an inter-professional rural health panel for 32 student pharmacists at UMKC School of Pharmacy enrolled in the rural health & agromedicine course. More

The Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) participated in Mental Health Awareness Month with social media and website postings. More

BIA-MO's support group facilitator networking calls and e-newsletter encouraged the facilitators to share the mental health awareness of farmers and ranchers with support group members in rural Missouri to increase awareness of the MAP.
The Nebraska AgrAbility team wrote an article for the GovDelivery newsletter that goes to all Nebraska USDA employees. This article features basic information regarding AgrAbility to inform FSA ag professionals about the project since they work directly with producers across the state.

Staff have been reaching out to clients, talking to them about services available and whether they have been affected by COVID-19 directly or indirectly.
The AgrAbility coloring book is still in progress, with requests to youth for drawing pages such as this one for grain bin safety. If anyone has a budding artist in the family with some free time on his or her hands, staff welcome art suitable for coloring!
New Mexico
New Mexico AgrAbility Project welcomes three new occupational therapy interns from the University of New Mexico for the summer. More

The New Mexico AgrAbility Project invites SRAPs to see their spring newsletter highlighting NAP COVID-19 resources, quality of life information for farm producers, project partner updates, and technology corner, by clicking here.
North Carolina
During the time of COVID-19, NC AgrAbility Partnership has been working on providing resources to farmers through the NCA&T Cooperative Extension webpage, NC AgrAbility website, and the Facebook page. Here is one of the resources developed: " User Friendly Technology for Farming and Gardening".

On May 7, Beatriz Rodriguez presented a webinar at Extension Extended Virtual Programming Series: "How to Stay Safe in your Garden". Attendees were interested in connecting to NC AgrAbility by registering to the listserv and require resources.

On May 14, Beatriz Rodriguez participated as a panelist in an AgrAbility webinar: " Disability and Agriculture Outside the U.S. - an International Panel Discussion".
Ohio AgrAbility staff have been focusing on education and outreach this spring. More
OAP Program Director Dee Jepsen and two OSU students, Dr. Leah Schwinn, DOT, and Andrew Kramer, MPH, presented three Fitness for Farm Life webinars: "Body Mechanics and Safe Lifting", "Stretches and Exercises", and "Health, Wellness and Chronic Pain Management", in May. More
AgrAbility PA staff continues to work and provide services and support to farmers and ag workers throughout the state. More

AgrAbility PA staff are reaching out to some of the farmers that the project has worked with in recent times to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted their operation. More
There has been more publicity for the ag students connected to Tyrone FFA as they "walk the walk" to learn about farmers with disabilities! Their story was featured on AGDaily.
Breaking Ground, produced by the TN Council of Developmental Disabilities since 1990, informs readers of innovative programs and practices, disability policy issues, and stories about the lives of Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. More

Three new state chapters just became part of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Family: Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. More
Congratulations to FVC of TN officially announcing in May they became a new chapter. TN AgrAbility is proud to partner with FVC of TN and support Homegrown by Heroes/Pick TN Products. More
Congratulations to Eileen Legualt, TN AgrAbility, on receiving the very first Farmer Veteran Coalition Tennessee Distinguished Service Award. Legualt was very instrumental in forming the Farmer Veteran Coalition Tennessee chapter. It is a much-deserved award.

Haywood County, TN, hosted a virtual Progressive Agricultural Safety Day for fourth graders. Due to schools closing in the spring, the students were going to miss their annual safety day. More
Applications are now open for the newest cohort BattleGround to Breaking Ground training program. The program includes 16 weeks of agriculture business planning courses, disability support services, veteran support services, More
Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground will be hosting a virtual agriculture business workshop series June 23 - July 7. The series will be hosted as webinars on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. CDT. More
During the recent pandemic, several potential clients who are struggling financially have contacted AgrAbility of Utah (AofU). Using state guidelines, staff has carefully started working with them to help receive assistive technology from other agencies.

Weekly check-in calls have been helpful for AofU staff to connect and share their concerns, questions, and positive experiences with each other. AofU staff have a broad knowledge of agriculture and are willing to share this knowledge and help each other on the team.
Garland Mason, program coordinator, and Dr. Kim Niewolny, project director, authored and published extension publication Farm Stress and Grief in the Time of COVID-19: Strategies and Resources as part of the Farm Safety, Health, & Wellness Initiative. Click here to view the PDF.

AgrAbility Virginia continues to be active in NSF-funded projects that aim to
  1. advance affordable, wearable robotic technologies developed specifically for farmers with mobility restrictions, and
  2. explore the role of socio-technology to addressing sustainability on small farms. ... More

The new AgrAbility Virginia Advisory Group is formed and plans for an initial meeting are being organized for the end of June. This group consists of farmers and practitioners who help guide the work of the AgrAbility Virginia team.

The new AgrAbility Virginia brochure and website will be finalized and published by the end of June.
Washington State AgrAbility Program (WSAP) hosted its second webinar May 7th facilitated by Curt Johnson, assistive technology specialist with Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP). Sixteen people participated from across the state.

WSAP staff has been attending several webinars on behavioral health and safety.
Wisconsin staff recently held two virtual meetings: the first being with the VA FARMS members in WI and the second being open to all. Both meetings included an informative guest speaker from the WI Farm Service Agency office ... More
AgrAbility for Africa
On the 14th of May, the National AgrAbility Project held a Zoom webinar with an international panel discussing the international perspective on vocational rehabilitation and assistive technologies. AgrAbility for Africa staff contributed during the presentation to discuss the state of vocational rehabilitation in Uganda, More
AgrAbility for Africa, amidst the hold on physical community outreach and educational projects, has had to go virtual to continue to provide support and care for farmers faced with disabilities in Uganda. AgrAbility for Africa staff is working to enhance outreach and impact through expanding partner networks and collaborations. More
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, baldwi19@purdue.edu

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