October 2020
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
The inaugural AgrAbility Virtual State Fair (VSF) is in full swing! So far, VSF Facebook posts, including pre-fair promotion, have reached more than 11,000 people, and VSF Twitter impressions (total tally of all the times the Tweets have been seen) have exceeded 40,000. Please follow, like, and share VSF posts so that all of AgrAbility can benefit from this awareness event.

The archive for Dr. Deborah Reed’s webinar, “Using Readers’ Theater for Supporting the Health and Safety of Farmers and Their Families,” should be available at http://www.agrability.org/online-training/archived/webinar-series/ by the end of today.
AgrAbility/LIFE Project Webinar: “Roots of the Soil: Legal and Policy Issues in Succession Planning for Socially Disadvantaged Farm Families,” Wednesday, October 28, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET. More

September was the month of virtual farm shows. The 2020 Virtual Farm Progress Show and the Virtual Ohio Farm Science Review were both interesting and informative. More

Steve Swain also participated in the 2020 Virtual RESNA Conference, which was September 23-24. The presentations were live and offered a range of topics, and they are available online for a registration fee.
Toolbox Spotlight
Fall is here and leaves are falling! Looking somewhat like giant bear claws, a pair of Handheld Leaf/Debris Grabbers allows one-with a reduced amount of bending-to rake together then pick up all manner of yard and garden debris. Measuring up to 2 feet tall and 1 ½ feet wide at their base, these rake-shaped, lightweight plastic tools have hand-hold grips that also support the lower arm.
The Alaska AgrAbility team is still under restrictions related to COVID-19 and not able to perform in-person assessments. More
In recognition of Emergency Preparedness Month, a four-part series of workshops was offered virtually September 28-October 1... More

The Alaska AgrAbility team is planning for a virtual quarterly eNewsletter that will be sent out broadly and to clients. The first edition will be sent out the first part of October.

Southeast Alaska Independent Living Center hosts the virtual Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury Group once a month. Staff attended and discussed different assistive technology and funding options available for individuals with disabilities.

Tori Gingras, outreach specialist with ATLA, attended planning sessions for the AgrAbility national virtual fair taking place in October. Alaska is excited to be a part of this opportunity.
ATLA has received a grant from the Department of Health and Social Services for a new program called TechAbility. This program provides free lifetime loans to Alaskans who are Mental Health Trust Authority beneficiaries. More
During the time of COVID, ATLA is meeting with individuals over distance on platforms such as Zoom. They have also partnered with local disability support agencies to provide a demonstration kit. This allows for individuals to explore devices while on a Zoom call with an ATLA specialist.
California AgrAbility conducted outreach at the Madison Migrant Center in Yolo County. Although the migrant centers are closed to the public, limited access is available for agencies petitioning to bring in resources for the farm-working families. More

Staff joined the virtual RISE collaborative Zoom meeting. This was the first virtual RISE meeting since the pandemic started, and it is expected to continue virtually for the next year. More

California AgrAbility participated in several National Farm Safety & Health Week webinars hosted by AgriSafe. More
September was a lackluster month for Colorado AgrAbility where outside interest is concerned. Staff made a few site visits and attended some webinars. However, they did do a lot of work on the Virtual State Fair. More
Jacqueline Jacobs, an intern from Fort Valley State University (1890 university), has been doing on-site visits with AgrAbility staff. She is obtaining a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation counseling. Staff are excited to have her as part of the AgrAbility team.
Georgia AgrAbility staff returned to conducting on-site visits with farmers and ranchers during September. With this change, many farmers and ranchers had received equipment that needed installation on various farms across Georgia. Staff are following strict COVID guidelines.
With assistance through Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation, several Georgia farmers received assistive technology equipment this month. A cattle farmer and military veteran received Ghost Control automatic gate operators, an Arrowquip portable cattle working system, a gas-powered T-post driver, and rear-view cameras for his tractors.
A cotton farmer received a Life Essentials truck-mounted lift and GPS autosteer technology for his tractors, sprayers, and cotton pickers. By incorporating GPS autosteer, the farmer will now be able to run his equipment more safely and efficiently. It will also decrease fatigue and input cost.

Dr. Glen Rains recently co-published an Extension article on chainsaws titled Chainsaw Chains and Bars. To make the right choices for the job, a saw operator should be aware of the cutter type, pitch, gauge, and cutter configuration when purchasing a chain or a chainsaw.
Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, was an expert presenter on "Practical AT Assessments" for Dr. Brad Durestock's graduate class at Purdue. The class was presented virtually and recorded for class members to access at a later time.

Steve Swain also continued to answer questions and acquire equipment quotes for VR counselors, supervisors, and clients.
Kansas AgrAbility and Kansas Rehabilitation Services (VR) are working on digital training for new VR counselors. In the meantime, KAP staff conducted virtual regional trainings for the Kansas City metro area, a thriving area for small producers. More
Referrals to KAP staff have increased since March despite Covid19 trends in the state. Virtual training appears to be effective in maintaining collaborative relationships and increasing service authorizations through the Provider Agreement.
Boots 2 Bushels (B2B) Program 2020 -Boot Camp for Market gardeners and Farmers.
Starting and running a farming program during a global pandemic certainly had its challenges - and rewards! More
Staff are moving ahead with planning for B2B 2021! Maine AgrAbility was able to successfully coordinate a signed memorandum of agreement between University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Kennebec Valley Community College to allow B2B 2021 use of the farm facility at KVCC! More

We've gotten some really great press about our B2B program.

Maine AgrAbility finalized a new factsheet Why Growing Lavender in Maine Might Be a Suitable Enterprise for Persons with Disabilities.

Maine staff routinely share news posts and articles. More
Michigan AgrAbility Demonstration Farm will host a virtual farm tour for Michigan Rehabilitation counselor partners and will demonstrate a large number of assistive technology equipment on the farm on October 14. More

Join Michigan AgrAbility on October 27 as they share their project and resources with attendees during the AgrAbility Virtual State Fair on Facebook and Twitter.
The MSU College of Engineering's 2019 Fall Edison Undergraduate Design Award was given to the Mechanical Engineering (ME) 481 design team that was judged to have produced the best technical design project. The winners were Team Michigan AgrAbility!! More
Missouri AgrAbility completed the following AgrAbility client and farm family tasks during the past month: More

The Missouri AgrAbility Project was highlighted as a resource during the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) quarterly Networking Coffee for Professionals - St. Louis. This virtual meeting was attended by eight vocational, rehabilitation, and education professionals.

Will Matus, BIA-MO program associate, began utilizing the Guide for Family Caregivers booklet that jointly features the Missouri AgrAbility Project, BIA-MO, and Brain Injury Association of America.
Nebraska AgrAbility field staff continues to work on client reports, do visits, and wrap up several cases while physically distancing.

Staff were able to attend Farm Progress's virtual event. This was in place of Husker Harvest Days - one of the largest farm expos in the country. More

The team celebrated National Farm & Safety Health Week. More

Staff hope you joined them for the Virtual State Fair in October.

A staff member trained in the MSU Communicating with Farmers under Stress curriculum is offering the fourth live webinar of the year on Tuesday, November 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST. Register by clicking here. More
North Carolina
During the month of September, North Carolina AgrAbility along with NAP, the LIFE Project, Peoples Foundation, Pangea Farms, Chef Joseph's Kicksauce, and Legacy Taste of the Garden, have been planning for the 2020 AgrAbility/LIFE Project 1890 Land Grant Institutions Virtual Workshop hosted by NC A&T State University.

NC AgrAbility Partnership has been serving farmers by doing regular farm visits and referrals.
Ohio AgrAbility recently participated in 2020 Farm Science Review - online! For the first time in FSR history, all activities, presentations, demonstrations, and exhibits were solely online. FSR management challenged all OSU personnel to upgrade presentations from the usual PowerPoint and Zoom calls. More
AgrAbility PA staff has resumed fully-on-site farm assessments for new farmers (with added health and safety precautions due to COVID-19). More

Whether rain or shine, the AgrAbility PA staff works through it. Abbie Spackman met with a client to ensure his assistive technology was implemented and meeting his needs. More

The AgrAbility PA Advisory Board met in a virtual meeting on September 28. It was a welcome chance to meet and share ideas. Additional virtual small-group sessions will take place during the month of October to solicit and exchange feedback from board members.
The students with Tyrone FFA have had their story shared by the National FFA on ffa.org. AgrAbility PA has been thrilled with this interaction in helping students learn more about farmers with disabilities and the story sharing that has come from it.
"I have one excited papa!" - This is a quote that came via text along with pictures that a TN AgrAbility staff member received from a customer's daughter. TN AgrAbility had helped a 46-year-old farmer with back issues that had resulted in back surgery, neuropathy/foot drop, and arthritis. More

With September being Mental Health Awareness Month, the TN AgrAbility team continued to support the mental health of their farmers by connecting them to resources and networks.

"Every Farmer Counts" - This was the theme for the 2020 National Farm Health and Safety week. TNAP staff promoted and participated in the informational webinars from Agri-Safe Network, The National Education Center for Ag Safety, and Progressive Agriculture Safety Days. More

The 2020 16th Annual Tennessee Small Farmer Expo was held virtually in September. Video and live content were streamed via Zoom and YouTube. TN AgrAbility staff participated, "exhibited," and promoted AgrAbility during this event.

TN AgrAbility participated in the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) 2020 virtual conference. More
During September, TN AgrAbility staff began preparation for the upcoming TN AgrAbility Day on October 28 as part of the AgrAbility Virtual State Fair.

Tennessee AgrAbility staff promoted the new TN Master Farm Manager Program, which will be held online beginning October 13 and continuing every Tuesday night through December 1, 2020. More
The Battleground to Breaking Ground Cohort 9 application and information will be on the Texas AgrAbility website later this October. More
AgrAbility of Utah provided online training for two Vocational Rehabilitation districts in the state. More

AgrAbility staff met virtually with two Vocational Rehabilitation district supervisors on Sept. 16. The meeting was arranged to communicate more efficiently and to better understand each other's organization. The meeting will continue to occur quarterly.

On Sept. 28, AgrAbility of Utah staff attended the Cache Interagency Council meeting and met with non-profits in the community. More
AgrAbility Virginia has been a key partner in the Farm Safety, Health, & Wellness Initiative, which has produced a significant number of publications, webinars, and resources. More

AgrAbility Virginia has supported a client farmer in southwest Virginia by connecting him with resources and organizations to install Life Essentials hand controls and a sling lift to get into the farmer's tractor.

AgrAbility Virginia staff are developing materials for the Virtual State Fair where the SRAP will be highlighted on October 16. AgrAbility Virginia will host a scavenger hunt for participants to enter a raffle to win assorted Virginia grown products.

AgrAbility Virginia Field Coordinator Tony Edwards is organizing an online veteran farmer "Boots to Roots" conference in collaboration with the Virginia chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition on November 12.

AgrAbility Virginia will be an exhibitor during the Brain Injury Association of Virginia virtual conference November 13-14.

AgrAbility field staff have received updated display materials for promotional events, including retractable floor banners and collapsible table displays.

AgrAbility Virginia Field Coordinator Jeremy Daubert exhibited for AgrAbility Virginia at the State Dairyman's Board Meeting and The Dairy Alliance Fall Meeting where there were about 50 people in attendance.
Washington State AgrAbility Program (WSAP) participated in two mask/hand sanitizer giveaways with Washington Farm Bureau on September 10 and 16. More

WSAP gave a presentation at the King/Pierce County Farm Bureau meeting September 21 with nine participants.

WSAP is working with Skagit DVR to coordinate activities that support farmers and farm workers in assessing appropriate resources.

WSAP staff continues to work on Virtual State Fair ideas and content for the Washington state showcase Oct 23 and is promoting the month-long campaign via social media.

WSAP staff continues to work on building their lending library based on specific injury sectors and is updating the website with the lending library component.

Washington State AgrAbility Project has been proud to partner with the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network when providing outreach to farmers and ranchers in Washington state. More
AgrAbility of Wisconsin has been getting ready for the Virtual State Fair and their annual advisory council meeting. Staff will be hosting a more condensed virtual meeting in 2020.

Staff are continuing to reach Wisconsin clients through social media, quarterly newsletters, and virtual presentations.
AgrAbility for Africa
Following the easing of targeted sector lockdown restrictions due to COVID 19, the AgrAbility for Africa staff are beginning to renew farm visits to assess the impact to farmers. More
Among the first farm visits was one to a thriving Lake Victoria waterfront mulberry farm owned by Mr. Arthur Blick ,Senior. Despite being confined to a wheelchair since 1983 following a bike racing accident, Mr. Blick has remained positive, and has recently started adding value to his mulberry fruit by producing wine. More
Finding unconventional solutions and interventions has helped the AgrAbility for Africa staff create new ideas and solutions to enhance the quality of life of farmers, ranchers, and children in Uganda, and has helped farmers faced with disabilities rebuild and return to a fairly independent lifestyle that is more flexible and meaningful. More
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, baldwi19@purdue.edu

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