June 2022
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2023 NTW! Planning has started for the 2023 NTW to be held in Spokane, WA. Staff members are currently in the process of negotiating the contract, and the projected dates are March 20-23, 2023. If you would like to join the planning committee, which is currently meeting by Zoom on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 1:00 p.m., let Tess know at [email protected] or 585.447.9015.

Remember to participate in the all-staff virtual meeting next Thursday, June 23 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Look for details in an email soon.
Don't forget to register for the regional workshop in Columbus, OH, which will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn Columbus Easton from June 28th - 30th. The room block has closed, but you can still register until June 19th. More

The NATIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOP ENCORE WEBINARS, beginning next Thursday, June 23, will feature 10 presentations from some of the most requested sessions of the 2022 in-person National Training Workshop. Session descriptions and registration info is available at www.agrability.org/ntw-encore.
National AgrAbility is pleased to present AgrAbility: 30 Years of Impact. This publication is designed to raise awareness of AgrAbility among customers and key stakeholders, including legislators, VR counselors, and other professionals in agriculture and rehabilitation. It can be downloaded here, and an email will be sent concerning print copies.
CORRECTION: Save the NEW dates November 29th-December 1st for the regional workshop in Reno, NV. More information to come. If you have any questions or are interested in hosting a regional workshop, contact Tess McKeel at [email protected] or 585-447-9015
The AgrAbility/North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center webinar "Veterans, Agriculture, and Stress" is now archived at www.agrability.org/online-training/archived/webinar-series. Approximately 100 people attended the live event.
Carey Portell hosted an AgriSafe "Talking Total Farmer Health" Podcast on mental health Sunday, May 1. The podcast may be listened to HERE.
Toolbox Spotlight
Although weighing only around 20 pounds, the remote-controlled Battery-Powered Portable Winch can assist with many pulling/lifting tasks not only around the farmstead, but also out in the field and/or woodlot. Its brushless electric motor, which runs off a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, reportedly generates 1,000 to 2,200 pounds of pulling force at speeds of 5 to 25 feet per minute (depending on make/model).
Things are heating up in more ways than one in Alaska presently. With red flag warnings in several locations around the state, the temperatures this season are seeing record numbers. More
While the spruce beetles are preparing to fly, the AKAgrAbility team is working to attend outreach events and take advantage of more face-to-face opportunities. Tori Gringas & DeShana York attended a VA veteran women's fair on May 21st in Anchorage. Assistive technology tools were displayed and demonstrated for attendees.
Art Nash hosted Scott Sanford, emeritus faculty from University of Wisconsin (UWM) Madison, in May to provide expertise in several communities regarding fresh produce storage and greenhouse heat applications. More
California AgrAbility team member Mauricio Guerrero-Villanueva has been working to facilitate a project in ag communities to coordinate gardening and mental health events. Community members were invited to participate in a community talk, called Pláticas Comunitarias, held in Spanish both virtually and in-person. More

During the month of May, the California AgrAbility team visited a local produce farm to share information about the AgrAbility program and services available within the community. More
California AgrAbility's Esme Mandujano was interviewed by a local web TV program, Escucha y Hazle La Lucha (Listen and Persevere), to talk about the California AgrAbility Program. More
In early April, Candy Leathers had the opportunity to travel to Albuquerque to network with the New Mexico AgrAbility project. It was two days of sharing ideas, service delivery strategies, and building on providing a comprehensive AgrAbility program. More
May brought several invitations for the project to attend community events around Colorado. Keefe Memorial Hospital in Cheyenne Wells, in partnership with the Colorado Cancer Coalition, held the 2022 Cheyenne County Health Fair and Hospital Week. More
The Lincoln County health community held a health fair in Limon, Colorado. The Colorado AgrAbility Project was invited to attend this event. The fair was led by the Lincoln County Extension service, More
On May 19, Georgia AgrAbility staff had a booth and attended the 2022 Farm Stress Summit in Tifton, Georgia. The summit was a productive time to learn from other professionals, connect communities with existing resources, and establish partnerships across organizations in regard to rural stress issues. More
On May 13, Ed Sheldon, Indiana Extension outreach coordinator, joined Purdue Extension-Benton County staff in renovating raised garden beds at the Oxford, Indiana, Community Wellness Program. More
Ed Sheldon represented Indiana AgrAbility at the May 14 Indiana Black Loam Conference held at the historic Madam CJ Walker Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. More
Chuck Baldwin staffed an AgrAbility booth at the disABILITIES Expo in Fort Wayne, IN, Saturday, May 14. This was the first disABILITIES Expo following a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More
Kansas AgrAbility staff connected with potential clients at the Four State Farm Show in Pittsburg, Kansas, and enjoyed an extra special boost with Life Essentials joining the exhibit. More
Carla Wilhite, Ph.D., and Clayton Lange, Ph.D., conducted a dynamic workshop for rehabilitation professionals titled "Improving Occupational Performance of Kansas Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities." More
The Boots-2-Bushels class visited King Hill Farm in Penobscot, ME, on May 2 to learn about harvest and storage methods. The farm co-owner and military veteran, Paul Schultz, gave an excellent overview of their diversified and organic farm operations. These farms tours are also open to new Maine farmers participating in the Maine New Farmers project supported by the USDA.

On May 11, staff provided AgrAbility resources and presented "Gardening & Ergonomics" to 37 Bucksport Maine Garden Club members. More

Readers may remember Dillon Foley; he and his mom Kelly attended the 2019 NTW in Lincoln NE. Now a senior in high school Dillon was featured in his local high school paper: The Windham Eagle Newspaper highlights a student's capstone project which focuses on self-sufficiency and benefits others.
On Friday May 6, Maine AgrAbility launched the first Yoga for Sea Harvesters/Farmers event at Eros Oysters in Georgetown, ME. This yoga session included breathing practices and a series of standing movements designed to unwind your body after a day of lumping shellfish or seaweed. More

For more yoga and stretching ideas, check out the most recent blog post: This is Awkward. More
MU Extension campus and field faculty worked to increase the likelihood that individuals, including veterans, social disadvantaged, women in agriculture, and their families engaged in production (AgrAbility customers) will become successful and prevent secondary injuries by providing: More
Lincoln Universities Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP), in collaboration with the MU Extension, facilitated the following: More

4-H Save Your Brain Program, in partnership with Missouri AgrAbility, was featured in the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Connections Newsletter spring 2022 issue. More

Maureen Cunningham, BIA-MO executive director, shared information about Missouri AgrAbility with members of TOPs, an O'Fallon, Missouri community group, including farmers.
Missouri AgrAbility was a featured resource on the BIA-MO/Missouri AgrAbility exhibit at the L. Keeley Companies Health and Safety Fair on May 12. Approximately 100 company employees from St. Louis and surrounding rural counties learned about Missouri AgrAbility services for farmers with disabilities.
Staff educated Extension personnel from across Nebraska about AgrAbility and working in agriculture with various health conditions. The dean of Nebraska Extension, Charlie Stoltenour, attempted to pick up bolts with a “vision impairment” at Nebraska Extension’s Amplify Engagement Conference on UNL campus.
Nebraska AgrAbility has partnered with Nebraska Extension to have a paid intern for the summer of 2022. Leah Schmidt will be joining the team to help with social media, educational booth planning, and new fact sheets to share statewide. More
New Mexico
Mandy's Farm, the New Mexico AgrAbility Program non-profit partner, is hosting agricultural apprentices and public-school students who will be transitioning from school to community services. More

New Mexico AgrAbility staff were invited speakers at the AgriFuture Conference, May 18 -19 in Albuquerque, hosted by the NM Department of Agriculture. More
North Carolina
NC AgrAbility partner NCATP is hosting weekly sessions on "Accessibility 4 All Demonstrations." Interested parties can join every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at https://www.zoomgov.com/j/1606908810?pwd=SHNja1VoWC8wMTFSMVNzbTlhQ2p3Zz.
Meeting ID: 160 690 8810
Passcode: 155475
Sessions are open to all and have ASL interpreters.

NC AgrAbility at NCA&T is working under an MOU with Methodist University. Mary I. Dunn, an OT doctoral student who participated in the NTW, is working on expanding education and services to farmworkers in North Carolina.

NC AgrAbility and the NC Agromedicine Institute worked with Lauren Rainone under an MOU with MGH Institution last spring. Lauren obtained her doctorate degree as an occupational therapist in May. She developed a research study on farmers with spinal cord injuries in North Carolina.

NC AgrAbility Project Manager Betty Rodriguez won the Outstanding Work in Supporting County Programs Award at the NC Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists (NCACES) Spring Awards Meeting held on May 20.
Dee Jepsen (program director) and Laura Akgerman (disability services coordinator) collaborated with Karen Funkenbusch from Missouri AgrAbility, Jessie Calero from New Mexico AgrAbility, and Heather Kelejian from North Carolina Cooperative Extension to write "Accessibility and Inclusion as an Approach to Enhancing Local Extension Programs," which will be published in the Journal of Human Science and Extension. More

Ohio AgrAbility staff participated in a tractor in-service for new agriculture and natural resources Extension educators. Topics included safe operation of tractors, skid loaders, lawn mowers, and utility vehicles, More
Laura Akgerman presented "Gardening as We Age: Ideas for Adapting" to 125 Master Gardener volunteers in Columbus. The audience was very engaged, and a few people shared ideas at the end of the presentation.
Project staff members Linda Fetzer and Abbie Spackman began working with the Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program to collaborate on creating accessible community garden spaces, recommend gardening assistive technology (AT), and educate on ergonomic gardening practices. This project will be an ongoing effort across the state.
Project Director Suzanna Windon and graduate assistant Carolyn Henzi Plaza have translated into Spanish several articles on farmer stress for use with AgrAbility farmers. The three-part toolbox series has articles 1 and 2 completed and posted online:
Lights! Camera! Action! AgrAbility staff member Kendra Martin spent time in May interviewing farmers for a success stories video project. The interviews and testimonials will be used in several ways: online, in social media, and at outreach events. Stay tuned - the videos will be released this summer, including an overall anthemic video.
The Tennessee AgrAbility Project recognized May as "Mental Health Awareness Month." The AgrAbility team is working with partners across the state and nation to develop the capacity to help connect mental health providers with farm families in need of their services.

The first Tuesday of each quarter in 2022, Tennessee AgrAbility hosts Assistive Technology Tuesdays. May featured Chad Reznicek. He is the behavioral health specialist with the Colorado AgrAbility Project and is committed to helping expand and improve behavioral health support and resources in rural communities. More

AgrAbility participated in the AgriStress Network national "Think Tank" style virtual meeting through the AgriStress Response Network. More
TN AgrAbility participated in the Haywood County Safety Day for 4th graders. Fourteen student groups experienced having a physical and/or learning challenge at the Disability Awareness Station.
TN AgrAbility joined in the informative virtual forum on farm stress "Sustainable Livelihoods and Behavioral Health: Strategies to Address Farm Stress and Suicide" hosted by U.S. Department of Agriculture. More

TN AgrAbility and UT Gardens hosted a Veterans Therapeutic Horticulture Workshop for Frontline Gardens and Master Gardeners in May. Dr. Derrick Stowell designed this workshop for veterans or law enforcement personnel who have received a garden from FrontLine Gardens. More
Texas AgrAbility staff conducted an assessment for a veteran client who produces blueberries, hay, and timber. The staff is working collaboratively with Texas Vocational Rehab to ensure the client's needs are met.

A Texas AgrAbility client received his Action Track Chair.
BattleGround to Breaking Ground Farm Manager Heidi Barber conducted a "Sheep & Goat 101" workshop for participants. This hands-on course provided an introduction to raising sheep & goats.
BattleGround to Breaking Ground Farm Manager Doug Havemann, in partnership with Dr. Ken Mix from Texas State University and Alex from NRCS, conducted a hands-on training for cover cropping.
The AgrAbility of Utah staff was excited to train and explain the AgrAbility program to the Eastern Utah Vocational Rehabilitation District office on May 24. The eastern district is based in Price, UT, and the meeting was attended by over 20 staff.

On May 25, the AgrAbility of Utah staff trained the Southern Utah Vocational Rehabilitation District office and explained how AgrAbility works to their staff of 18. The Southern Utah District is in St. George, UT.
AgrAbility Virginia is currently working with 23 open farmer client cases at various levels of engagement and need, including a veteran and beginning farmer in Goochland.

The AgrAbility Virginia Network has launched; more details available at the link HERE.

AgrAbility Virginia program coordinator has now updated our Farmer Client Highlights on our website to include more client stories; read them HERE.

AgrAbility Virginia staff members attended the LIFE Project/AgrAbility 1890's Workshop at Tennessee State University June 7-8.

AgrAbility Virginia staff and advisory group members met virtually on May 31st to review updates and gather input on how to improve programing.

AgrAbility Virginia staff are starting to plan for a Virginia Cooperative Extension in-service training on AgrAbility for Extension agents and specialists this summer.

AgrAbility Virginia sent their spring eNewsletter out in May. Two eNewsletters go out each year - once in spring and once in fall. To sign up to receive the eNewsletter or review past eNewsletters, visit the website HERE.
Washington State AgrAbility Project had an on-farm AT demonstration at the Skagit County Viva Farms location. Various farmers met one-on-one with staff, tried out AT, and learned about AgrAbility. A workshop, as well as an on-farm AT demonstration, is scheduled for the Woodinville Viva Farm location in July.

WSAP attended the Spokane Junior Livestock Show May 4-7 by exhibiting at the event and demonstrating AT that may be helpful for farmers and ranchers.

WSU Skagit County Extension is turning 100 years old and celebrated June 4th with an open house that includes displays of current programs, including a table about AgrAbility, as well as recognizing past and present achievements.

WSAP exhibited at the Puget Sound Junior Livestock Show June 3-4th in Lynden, Washington, where AT was demonstrated that would be helpful when handling livestock and/or doing farm chores.
Georgia AgrAbility is excited to announce that Justin Miller has joined our team as the veteran agricultural liaison. Justin will be working on both the AgrAbility project and the southern region FRSAN project. He served 20 years in the United States Army. He has been very involved with a non-profit group in Georgia known as Project Something Outta Nothing, where he helped create awareness of military veterans' mental health issues. In his new role with us, he will be connecting with veterans around the state, developing a resource directory on mental health services for veterans, and teaching a variety of mental health trainings.

Evann Rowland has taken a new position at the University of Georgia as a farm manager for the College of Veterinarian Medicine. We know that she will do great in this new role and are thankful for her time serving the farmers of Georgia AgrAbility.
Team member Susan Harris will be leaving the team July 1 and is looking forward to many travels and some grandbaby fun. She will serve on the NTW planning committee and as a volunteer for Nebraska AgrAbility going forward.
North Carolina
Kelsey Kilgore, NC AgrAbility field agent, has big life changes now and won't be able to continue with NC AgrAbility after June 14.
Congratulations to Kelby Kosel for graduating with her B.S. in bioinformatics. She will be attending medical school at Sam Houston State University in the fall! Kelby has been with Texas AgrAbility for three years and was just promoted to program aide. We are so proud and fortunate to have her on our team!
AgrAbility Virginia Community Outreach Specialist Liza Dobson left their position at the end of May to focus full-time on their growing flower farm in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, [email protected]

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