September 2020
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
The inaugural AgrAbility Virtual State Fair starts in just over two weeks! Follow the fair on Facebook and Twitter; "like" and share the posts. The schedule of SRAP days and weekend special topics is available. More

AgrAbility Regional Workshops: staff would like to plan an in-person regional workshop or two for spring/summer 2021. If you think that you might be interested in hosting a regional workshop in conjunction with Goodwill and NAP, please contact Tess or JoBeth
NAP welcomes the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) as a nonprofit collaborating partner for the 2020-21 project year. Headquartered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, OAAA is a national coalition of concerned organizations mobilized by the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it will work with NAP to reach rural audiences with arthritis resources.

AgrAbility Webinar: "Using Readers’ Theater for Supporting the Health and Safety of Farmers and Their Families," by Dr. Deborah Reed of the University of Kentucky. Thursday, October 15 at 3:00 p.m. Registration opening soon.
Toolbox Spotlight
With a range of models to choose from (e.g., stand-on vs. walk-behind, tracked vs. wheeled, telescoping- vs. fixed-arms, various rated operating capacities), Mini Skid Steer Loaders are ready to take on a host of tasks around the farm.
With the affixing of adapter plates, dozens of Mini Skid Steer Attachments are available for attaching to most any mini skid-steer make or model. Some of the main categories include auger attachments, backhoes, booms, brooms, brush cutters, buckets, cement mixers, concrete breakers, dozer blades, forks, graders, grapples, hitches, mowers, snow removal systems, sod rollers, soil conditioners, stump grinders, tree shears, tree shovels, trenchers, vacuum lifting tools, and vibratory plows.
California AgrAbility staff co-hosted the "Virtual Promotores Meeting: Our well-being in COVID-19 times" via Zoom. The effort included various community agencies helping promotores to sign up for emails and become familiar with the Zoom platform. More

Staff participated in the San Fernando Valley Promotores Virtual Conference. This year the conference theme was "Knowing the past to understand the present and where we are headed." More

California AgrAbility joined the monthly Health Window Providers Meeting with the Health Education Council. AgrAbility staff have been working with this group to promote their COVID19 text information line with AgrAbility Program participants. More
During the month of August, Colorado AgrAbility was quite busy researching and writing a grant proposal under the OPPE RFA for a 2501 grant to assist underserved, socially disadvantaged farmers and veterans to have improved access to USDA programs and funds. More
Staff presented on their work at the USDA/NIFA National Food Safety Outreach Program Project Director's Meeting on August 19, 2020. AgrAbility in Georgia has a project teaching military veterans about produce food safety utilizing the universal design for learning framework.

A staff member was elected to serve on the steering committee for the National Farmers Union. A meeting was held on August 20.

Many of the farmers that AgrAbility in Georgia works with manage their businesses by using QuickBooks. Staff attended a QuickBooks webinar on August 26 to gather knowledge on the software so they can assist farmers with questions and problems that they may encounter.

Staff attended a webinar on August 31 through the UGA Small Business Development Center titled "Marketing Your Georgia Grown Product through E-commerce." Staff will use the information shared in the webinar to help their farmers who have been asking about different ways to sell their products. Georgia Grown is one of the premier marketing strategies of agricultural products in the nation.

Field staff have received approval to do in-person site visits again while following strict Covid-19 protocols. They have developed an internal checklist that is available at
The world of farm shows continues to change. The Indiana State Fair and the Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Show are canceled, ... More

Steve Swain, Indiana AgrAbility rural rehabilitation specialist, conducted several farm visits in August. More
Kansas AgrAbility would like to congratulate John Slocombe on his retirement from Kansas State University, which includes serving as PI on the KAP Project for over 18 years. The reorganized leadership team includes ... More
Although the summer in-person activities have been canceled, working remotely hasn't slowed Maine AgrAbility down. The summer has flown by and staff have been busy!
Staff have been continuing to work with existing clients and reaching new clients as they navigate available resources and look for recommendations on ways to continue to work successfully and safely. Veterans from the Boots-2-Bushels class are continuing to gain hands-on experience at Chase Stream Farm.

On July 21, Ellen Gibson presented a program on AgrAbility and small changes or accommodations for backyard gardeners to 21 AARP members via Zoom. This format allowed for follow-up questions and information sharing between the presenter and audience in real-time.
UMaine Extension has created a bi-weekly Victory Garden for ME video series - short, pre-recorded videos geared towards Mainers growing their first vegetable garden. More

With the pandemic limiting in-person activities, Maine AgrAbility's Brie Weisman (OT), recognized the need for OT students to gain experience. Staff developed a Level 1 virtual experience for OT students. More

Richard Brzozowski has started a fact sheet working group comprising SRAP members from across the US. More

Staff have taken this "down" time to reconnect with their larger network of partners to learn more about specific topics to enhance Maine AgrAbility's programming. More

Maine AgrAbility routinely shares news posts and articles on its website, blog site, and social media accounts.

  • Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farmer well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension's farm coaching team.
  • Staff finalized a few new fact sheets on hiring farm workers with disabilities and beekeeping skills and assistive technology.
  • "Gotta Lotta Living to Do" is a blog series that deals with issues surrounding aging, farming, and quality of life. There are five recent posts on AgrAbility staff spotlights, clients, and assistive technology options.
Michigan AgrAbility has a new website! Thank you Easterseals Michigan and Grit HQ for the financial support and tech savvy! Check it out here.

Meet Dwight Carpenter! Dwight is the owner of Carpenter's Greenhouse and Produce. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2000 and decided to change over from bedding plants to hydroponic tomatoes. More
Detroit urban farmers are now in the know! Travis Peters at Greenboots Veterans Community Gardens hosted Michigan AgrAbility staff, who demonstrated assistive technology for growing vegetables. More

In the June 2020 e-note, Michigan AgrAbility highlighted Ned Stoller's contributions to the instructables website that hosts a platform for individuals 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 staff continue their educational outreach efforts by continuing to post assistive technology ideas to make farming jobs easier for their Facebook visitors. Examples include the Livestock Mineral Tub Sling, the Blaux Personal Fan, the WeWALK Smart Cane,... More

In "normal" years, Michigan AgrAbility has a booth at Agro Expo at AgroLiquid in St. Johns. More
Highlighted in the August e-note was the Run Free Michigan fundraising event by Maj. Maggie Seymour. If you would like to learn more, the Michigan Farm News has a great article about her upcoming Sept. 5-17 fundraising run... More
Missouri AgrAbility has been focusing its social media efforts on showcasing resources available to farmers and ranchers through MU Extension and highlighting programs of interest (local & virtual) for its clients.

Staff have started to develop new marketing materials to highlight their Missouri AgrAbility clients.

Social media update for the FY20 grant year:

  • MO AgrAbility's social media posts on Facebook had a reach of 28,767; 33,019 impressions and 1,370 engagements (likes, comments, shares). More

Missouri AgrAbility staff from the University of Missouri Extension (MUE) worked with statewide collaborators and cooperators to complete the following activities:

  • Facilitated three new onsite farmstead assessments. More
Lincoln University Cooperative Extension through the Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) in collaboration with University of Missouri Extension is excited to announce that Shon Bishop is a licensed UAV section 107 drone pilot. More

The Missouri AgrAbility Project is featured as the Military Veterans Track Sponsor in registration material for the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Annual Statewide Conference that will be held October 1 - 2.

BIA-MO hosted the quarterly Networking Coffee for the Springfield area in Missouri. More
The Farm Safety Coloring Book is finally complete! Readers will find the printable PDF on the Nebraska AgrAbility webpage (direct link is here.) The staff are also in the process of applying for a grant to help print and disperse the Farm Safety Coloring Book throughout the state.
The staff is excited to get back on the farms to complete farm assessments, even with all the PPE. After one assessment was finished, a client took the time to show off one of his hobbies, which is making toy tractors for his grandkids! How neat are these?!

A staff member presented at a teleconference with the Alternative Loan Financing Loan Review Board to educate about what AgrAbility does, the history of the program, and how the project works with the loan program.

A staff member trained in the Michigan State University Communicating with Farmers under Stress curriculum offered a third webinar (rather than a live workshop) on September 2. This program was for ag professionals to help them identify signs of stress in producers, use techniques for approaching someone in distress, and learn where to access resources that are helpful for someone experiencing stress.

Unfortunately, the Nebraska team will not be at the Nebraska State Fair due to the pandemic, but many virtual options were sent for use in the fair's virtual tours!
New Mexico
New Mexico AgrAbility conducted a webinar on promoting back health and assistive technologies to 40 health care and rehabilitation professionals on August 29. The three-hour webinar was created by the University of New Mexico Occupational Therapy Graduate Program student interns and faculty, using evidence-based resources. Attendees received continuing education credits for participating.
North Carolina
On August 5, NC AgrAbility hosted the first "Peer Virtual Networking Event," which was the equivalent of its "Peer Lunch Support Program" offered to its farmers every year. This time, staff were able to gather distant farmers from far eastern and western NC at the same time. More
On August 12, NC AgrAbility Partnership hosted a virtual training for Extension agents. The training "Helping Farmers with Disabilities Overcome Limitations: AgrAbility Services" was presented at the NCA&T 2020 Faculty and Staff Institute. More

Beatriz Rodriguez presented via Zoom "Health and Safety: Bending and Lifting" on August 20 at the NCA&T Extension Extended Virtual Programming Series. More
Ohio AgrAbility was proud to be featured on Spectrum New Ohio. Ohio farmer Kane Lewis and Ohio AgrAbility Rural Rehabilitation Coordinator Rachel Jarman spoke to Spectrum News about Ohio AgrAbility, the partnership between Ohio State, Easterseals Greater Cincinnati, and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and how AgrAbility keeps farmers farming. More
Ohio AgrAbility staff are busy creating videos and presentations for the first ever virtual Farm Science Review. AgrAbility staff have five presentations and two "Coffee and Conversations" with their farmers scheduled,... More
AgrAbility PA prepared new ways to interact with those who would have attended Penn State's Ag Progress Days (APD) in person as the event rolled out virtually in mid-August. More
AgrAbility PA created a video highlighting the question: "What is AgrAbility?" It features farmers that have been assisted by AgrAbility PA, assistive technology, funding sources, resources, and farm assessments. Take a look!

AgrAbility PA is excited to be a part of the upcoming AgrAbility Virtual State Fair! More
During a recent AgrAbility PA farm assessment, a client demonstrated a handy piece of assistive technology: a rechargeable, magnetic LED work light. This light is magnetic, and has hooks on each end, making it possible to place it in multiple locations. More
Honoring "International Assistance Dog Week" in August, here is a story from Smoky Mountain Service Dogs (SMSD) who serves disabled military veterans: More

Welcome to Clay Summers who was hired at Agricenter International in Memphis, TN, as the Veterans Employed in Technology and Service in Agriculture (VETSA) program manager. More

TN AgrAbility continues working with veterans with disabilities who want to farm. Sometimes the beginning farmer does not immediately need assistive technology but rather needs to learn about local resources such as Extension and USDA services and to be connected with other veteran farmers. More

Gale Barber, Bedford County farmer and TN AgrAbility client, passed away August 27. He will be missed! He lived with Parkinson's disease and dementia and farmed 100 acres of beef cattle and hay with his son Jason, who is legally blind. More
Texas AgrAbility conducted Battleground to Breaking Ground Cohort 8 Basic Training on August 27 and 28. There were a total of 23 participants with sessions that included ag safety, business planning, agriculture career opportunities, and goal setting.
On Aug. 11, AgrAbility of Utah staff gave online AgrAbility training to the Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT). UCAT is a statewide resource offering information and technical services to help people with disabilities identify and obtain the technology that will help them become more independent in their lives.

AgrAbility of Utah staff gave two online AgrAbility training presentations to two vocational rehabilitation districts in August. The first one was for the central Utah office and was attended by 18 counselors and staff on August 25. The second one was August 26 for the eastern Utah district and was attended by 13 counselors and staff.
AgrAbility is mailing updated brochures out to partners this month. Updated event outreach materials are being printed, organized, and mailed to field staff within the next few weeks.

AgrAbility Virginia has been a key partner in the Farm Safety, Health, & Wellness Initiative. As this initiative comes to a close, staff are organizing a webinar for September 16 (12-1 EDT) to present accomplishments and resources: More

AgrAbility Virginia staff have developed a farm financial stress assessment tool and are organizing a webinar for September 9 (12-1 EDT): "Using the Farm Financial Stress Assessment Tool with Struggling Farmers: A Webinar for Extension Agents." More details will be posted to social media soon.

AgrAbility Virginia is developing an outreach strategy for high school ag teachers and college students as schools return to classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff are developing material for the Virtual State Fair where the SRAP will be highlighted on October 16th.
Washington State AgrAbility Program (WSAP) offered an AgrAbility and veterans workshop through the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs on August 7 where 18 people participated from across the state.

WSAP gave a presentation at the Skagit County Farm Bureau meeting August 11 with 12 participants.
While maintaining social distance, staff conducted a field day style presentation and demonstration of AT at the Growing Veterans farm in Lynden, Washington, on August 19 with 18 participants while maintaining social distance.

United States Congressman Rick Larsen met with AgrAbility staff on August 19 to learn about the program and its effect in Washington. His aides asked the WSAP staff to continue to update them on AgrAbility's outreach.

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

Staff continues to work on virtual fair ideas and content for the Washington state showcase.

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.
Wisconsin AgrAbility has been busy with virtual meetings, sharing information with its NRCS Wisconsin partners and participating in the new Farmer Veteran Coalition WI chapter and its VA FARMs advisory council.

Most recently, AgrAbility of WI hosted a farm stress webinar with their partners at UW Madison Division of Extension. Lori Zierl from Pierce County shared what the emotional toll of farm stress does and some strategies to help create resilience to stress can be. Staff have recorded this webinar and will have it on their website for viewing soon.
AgrAbility for Africa
The International AgrAbility Network is a global initiative by the National AgrAbility Project (NAP) that is intended to guide and support projects that provide services and resources to farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and their families with disabilities around the world. It is through this arrangement that the AgrAbility for Africa staff constructed two BiCrawler Wheelers, and one was donated to Mrs. Nabawanuka Agnes, a farmer in Uganda. More
On August 19, the AgrAbility for Africa team was invited to join in a conversation by Chaeli Campaign, a social justice foundation in South Africa focused on changing society's views of the capabilities and role of children with disabilities. More
Paige Tidwell's last day with AgrAbility in Georgia was August 31, 2020. While we are very sad to see her leave IHDD (Institute on Human Development & Disability), we are excited about her new opportunity. She will be joining the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency as the assistant director of client services.
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,

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