View as Webpage PDF

September 2022

A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility

National AgrAbility Project News

Remember to participate in the AgrAbility all-staff virtual meeting October 5 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Look for a preliminary agenda and Zoom log-in information coming soon.

Square logo with aqua-colored background & a white half-circle filling the left side with a red Native American border in the circle and red lettering at bottom right side saying SIPI

The AgrAbility/SIPI 1994 land-grant regional workshop will take place September 27 & 28 at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, NM. The event and meals are free but you must register to attend. Lodging is not included (Some exceptions do apply. Please see the workshop agenda on the registration site.) Registration deadline is Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. Register HERE.

Green pasture in foreground with pine trees in distance bordering a lake with white clouds overhead

The 2023 AgrAbility NTW will be held in Spokane, WA, March 20-23. The Google form for the call for presentations can be accessed HERE and for the call for posters HERE. Exhibitors and sponsors are also needed, so please click HERE to access the exhibitor/sponsor Google form. Please feel free to share these links. If a Word version is needed to share, please contact Tess. 

Tess McKeel - - 585.447.9015 or

JoBeth Rath - - 585.402.2059

Headshot of Laurie Hayn smiling

The keynote speaker for the 2023 NTW is Laurie Hayn. She is an Indiana AgrAbility client who lost her left arm and left leg in a combine accident in 2018. To learn a little more about Laurie, CLICK HERE.

Skyline view of Reno Nevada with hills in the background.

Registration is open for the regional workshop in Reno, NV!!! Join us at the Silver Legacy Resort November 29th - December 1st. The workshop will be focusing on WSA, AT, WRSAP, and Mental Health and Wellness, along with some small group discussions. A December 1st tour will visit Lattin Farms, Frey Farm and Distillery, and WolfPack Meats. The agenda and registration link are on the NAP website HERE

For any questions or if interested in hosting a Regional Workshop, contact Tess McKeel at

Logo for AgriSafe National Farm Safety Week webinars with dates and QR code

NAP partner AgriSafe Network is celebrating National Farm Safety and Health Week 2022 by offering 10 free webinars from Monday, September 19 through Friday, September 23. In addition, it is hosting "Enhancing the Safety and Health of Youth Working in Ag" on September 28. See Upcoming Events for details. 

Archived recordings of recent AgrAbility webinars are available at They include:

  • "Managing Stress on the Farm"
  • "The Importance of Regenerative-Organic Agriculture Practices"
  • "Working with Capstone Students to Augment AgrAbility Services"
  • "Convivencia y conversación: Tools for reducing stress and fostering emotional well-being among Latino farmworkers"
  • "Vision Solutions for Farmers"
Steve Swain standing next to tractor with small boy on seat lift smiling at him

NAP traveled to Boone, Iowa, for the Farm Progress Show on August 30 - September 1. Steve Swain staffed an AgrAbility display in cooperation with LifeLyfts by Life Essentials. 

As NAP has transitioned to its upgraded website, several issues with the extranet have arisen. If you have any access issues, please contact Paul Jones

Toolbox Spotlight
Man using The Ox - which looks like a large 4-wheeled utility cart - in preparation for moving a potted tree

With The Ox Powered Transporter, farmers, ranchers, landscapers, and others can load, transport, and dump large amounts (up to 1,000 pounds) of loose or bagged materials, logs, containerized trees, and more. The Ox and the smaller Baby Ox are battery-powered and can reportedly travel over terrain at a maximum of 3 mph for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Many optional attachments are available to accommodate various types of cargo.

State and Regional AgrAbility Project News

Alaska AgrAbility's summer e-newsletter was distributed this month. Assistive technology, clients, and agencies were spotlighted in this distribution along with upcoming events to get excited about. Read about it here.

Fair season has been in full swing in Alaska, and Art Nash, Dr. Misra, and DeShana York have been engaged with outreach events around the state in Palmer, Delta Junction, and Soldotna recently, providing AgrAbility resource materials and awareness of the project. 

Educational workshop planning is underway for the fast-approaching fall time of year, and partnerships continue to grow with veteran support organizations. More


California AgrAbility staff attended the Annual Back to School Fair at the Yolo County Library where children from rural ag communities received haircuts while parents visited informational booths. More

Mauricio Guerrero-Villanueva, California AgrAbility's graduate student researcher, presented at the Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program (WRASAP) network quarterly meeting. More

Slide with advertisement for KNIGHTS LANDING HEALTH FAIR & 12 logos at the bottom including that of WRASAP and CA AgrAbility

California AgrAbility participated in the Knights Landing Health Fair along with other community partners. The fair was promoted on the Knights Landing Facebook page, and over 300 flyers were printed and mailed to all Knights Landing P.O. boxes and posted at the local gas stations, mini mart, community center, post office, and resource center. More 


It seems as though bees are buzzing everywhere. Now the benefit of beekeeping for income and therapy has struck in Colorado's United Veterans Coalition. More

2 women and a man in orange shirts and blue jeans kneeling on the floor of what appears to be a coop for ducks or fowl.

Iteago Felton, a veteran and Georgia farmer, was featured in the University of Georgia's rebranded College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences periodical, Almanac. Iteago Felton is a livestock producer in east Georgia. More

Dr. Glen Rains, co-director of the Georgia AgrAbility Project, was also featured in Almanac (page 23) for his work with robotic applications in agriculture. 

View of large lobby where agrileadHER conference was held showing AgrAbility-AgriSafe-Farmer Veteran Coalition and other large banners on the walls.

The AgrileadHER virtual conference was attended by 138 women from 29 different states. There were tracks for production, self-care, and business resources. The farmer stress panel was one of the most highly rated sessions. More

On August 18th, Georgia AgrAbility staff presented with Michigan AgrAbility for an NTW Encore Webinar on "Vision Solutions for Farmers". More

Several men looking at woodworking tool displays in a large building.

On August 23, the members of the Men's Shed attended the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. The IWF is the largest woodworking technology and design trade show and conference in North America. More

Georgia AgrAbility staff attended the Southeastern FRSAN conference held in Franklin, Tennessee, August 2 and 3. Staff members met with AgrAbility staff from other states as well as their action teams for the Southeastern FRSAN project. 

Rebecca Brightwell, co-director of the Georgia AgrAbility Project, was invited to present at the International Association for Food Protection in Pittsburgh on her work with military veterans in agriculture, using a food safety curriculum based on principles of universal design for learning. She also shared about AgrAbility. There were 63 people in attendance.

Group of 9 people looking at raised garden beds with green trees and blue sky in background

Outreach Coordinator Ed Sheldon joined the Indiana Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation for a workshop on accessible gardening at Flanner Farms in downtown Indianapolis on August 30. More 

Slide with dark blue background & yellow printing with 4 logos for Mike Braun - Indiana AgVets - Farmer Veteran Coalition - & IN AgrAbility advertising Virtual  Veteran Discussions

U.S. Senator Mike Braun's office hosted a virtual Veterans in Agriculture night. The Indiana AgrAbility project in partnership with Indiana AgVets and the Farmer Veteran Coalition conducted a zoom discussion for veterans in Indiana on opportunities in agriculture or assistive technology. More 


Karin Rasmussen with Kansas AgrAbility teamed up with K-State Research and Extension, the Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging, and the Department of Health to demonstrate simple solutions to daily barriers. More

Tawnie Larson, Kansas AgrAbility project coordinator, presented a field day workshop with members of SAVE Farm on using hand tools in the garden and around the farm. More

Black turkeys and white turkeys in a net-type enclosure with a green bucket next to them.

Maine AgrAbility's Boots-2-Bushels continued with its monthly in-person workshops. In August, the group met at Grace Pond Farm in Thomaston to learn about the gateway animal into livestock - poultry farming! More 

Check out an interview by Northern Maine's WAGM TV's county ag report of Maine AgrAbility's own assistive technology occupational therapist Kelley Spencer. Kelley did a great job of highlighting how AgrAbility can help workers throughout the ag industry be safe and successful despite limitations. 

Staff added a great video to complement Maine AgrAbility's FishAbility blog post: Let's Do the Twist. As the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association (MCFA) stated in their monthly newsletter, "If it works for Tom Brady, it can work for the fishing fleet." More

The September 2022 Commercial Fisheries News featured an article by Maine AgrAbility staff Brie Weisman: "Reducing Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Logging Industry, Part 2" that emphasizes reasonable precautions for avoiding and eliminating potential hazards.

Man in long sleeve shirt & blue jeans working with bee hives at the back of a van & there is a 2-wheeled dolly in the foreground.

Adam Ingrao of Bee Wise Farms in Newberry, MI, hosted a Heroes to Hives event on August 21st. Michigan AgrAbility staff taught a group of beekeepers about assistive technology to help them work with less pain and difficulty despite their medical conditions. Attendees were able to try out accessible technology devices during the workshop.

Michigan's largest agricultural trade show, AgroExpo, took place August 16 and 17. Michigan AgrAbility hosted a booth at this year's show in St. Johns, Michigan.

2 men in baseball caps standing  behind AgrAbility table outside under white tent talking with young woman in black top & blue jeans.

MU Extension AgrAbility and farm/ranch stress specialists Susan Jaster, (farm outreach worker with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program - LUCEISFOP) and Eric Work, (veteran farmer with Heroes to Hives Missouri State Chapter, Missouri AgrAbility Accessible Beekeepers Program, and Show-Me Farm Safety collaborative partners) spent 12 days handing out new Missouri AgrAbility/Brain Injury Association of Missouri personal well-being and health awareness resources. More 

Missouri AgrAbility focused their social media efforts on program promotion for MU Extension, partner programs, and stakeholders. More

MU Extension and LUCEISFOP are also working on several Missouri AgrAbility innovative technology video clips geared toward rural and urban client farmers and their families. Stay tuned for additional information. 

Missouri AgrAbility staff provided on-the-farm agricultural education and services directed at accommodating disability in farm operations for farmers with disabilities (client farmers) and families who are engaged in farming by facilitating three fee-for-service comprehensive onsite farmstead assessments. 

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy, a Missouri AgrAbility collaborator, provided rural wellness outreach and education at the Missouri State Fair on Aug 14th in MIZZOU Central. More

Missouri AgrAbility is featured in the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Annual Statewide Conference Registration Brochure as the Resources in Rural Missouri Track sponsor. More

2 women passing each other in opposite directions next to the frame of a hoop house with large round bales on the left and a red tractor on the right.

Farm Outreach Worker Angela Brattin with LUCEISFOP, in collaboration with Patrick Beyers at the University of Missouri Extension, hosted a high tunnel workshop on August 8-9. The high tunnel that they constructed will serve as an educational fruit site in the southwest Missouri region. More 

Smiling woman standing behind green-draped NE AgrAbility table with AT tools-literature-and a spin-wheel on the table.

Nebraska AgrAbility was represented by Soni Cochran at The Graze Master Group's inaugural event, "The Essentials of Agriculture Workshop". The Graze Master Group focuses on a comprehensive approach to total agriculture health and the concepts of regenerative agriculture. More

Group of 5 people with backs to camera looking at something next to NE AgrAbility display table. Man standing behind table also looking.

Located in "Raising Nebraska" at the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska AgrAbility focused on arthritis and agriculture on Older Nebraskans Day on August 29. A "knowledge wheel" was especially popular with attendees who took a spin to learn more about arthritis. More 

Woman - Nancy - on right watching African American girl in blue T-shirt on left hammering a nail into a small square of plywood

On August 30, students in grades K-6 and their teachers learned about disabilities and assistive technologies by using various tools to perform tasks. Rod Peterson, Nancy Frecks, and Soni Cochran shared the Nebraska AgrAbility program and worked with groups of students throughout the day.

Thank you! The Nebraska AgrAbility staff want to thank Nancy Frecks and Angela Howell for helping out with social media posts while Emily Jacobson is on maternity leave and since Leah Schmidt, summer intern, has headed back to school to finish her doctorate in occupational therapy.

New Mexico

The NM Technology Assistance Program presented information about the value of assistive technology and the NM AgrAbility project at the North Valley Albuquerque Farmers Market on 8/19/2022. 

OT fieldwork II students Robin Gibbs, Celia Giallanella, and Barrett Harding designed a custom vermiculture station for a food producer who experiences decreased fine motor dexterity and decreased mobility. The project involved carpentry, adaption of commercially available products, and three-dimensional printing. More

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility staff and students participated at the NCA&T State University Faculty and Staff Institute on August 10-12. This annual training event allows the Extension specialists to share new findings and information with peers at the state and county offices. More

2 women at a NCA&T Cooperative Extension booth outside under a tent with a sign sharing NC Extension Event Sponsors

On August 14, Betty Rodriguez and Mary Dunn manned a table at the Farmworker Health Fair in Kenansville, NC. This eastern North Carolina event was the first in its class and is to be established as an annual event to provide networking opportunities to farmworkers with the many resources available to them in the region. More 

3 African American people - 2 men & a woman - talking together near a NC AgrAbility booth in a large room

NC AgrAbility participated as an exhibitor at the "Collaborating with Veterans from All Branches" on August 17. A group of veterans, Native Americans, women in agriculture, and other minority groups came together to attend the event,... More

Woman standing at a podium in a large brick room with large slide screen behind her showing NC AgrAbility logo

On August 19, Mary Dunn, OT doctoral student, presented the capstone project she worked on during the summer. More

On August 21, NC AgrAbility attended the Western Farmworker Health Fair in Hendersonville, NC. Dr. Cook Marshall shared information about the program with 20 farmworkers.

20 people facing camera with slide screen behind them - 6 are seated and the rest standing

Ohio AgrAbility staff welcomed farmers to the 2022 summer meeting - the first in-person meeting since 2019. Staff presented an overview of outreach and engagement activities for 2020-2022, introduced new staff members, and gave a preview of the Ohio AgrAbility exhibit at Farm Science Review in September. More 

Ohio AgrAbility staff presented at the Ohio Rural Health Conference August 1-2. More

5 women standing behind green-draped AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians display table in a white tent.

Summer has been sizzling for the staff of AgrAbility PA - and not only because Pennsylvania has experienced one of the hottest summers on record this year! Farm assessments were plentiful, outreach events had increased crowds, and awareness of AgrAbility's services and support continues to reach new audiences across the state.

PENNlines magazine cover showing a farmer in a vehicle next to his dog with headline that says A NEW BEGINNING

Highlights include:

  • AgrAbility PA was featured on the front-cover of Penn Lines magazine in the July 2022 issue. More 
  • Staffers Abbie Spackman and Kendra Martin attended a regional workshop hosted by Ohio AgrAbility in June. More
  • Suzanna Windon, along with Carolyn Henzi Plaza, Daniel Robotham, and Abbie Spackman have published a Farmer Stress Management Toolbox... More
  • Penn State's Ag Progress Days took place in August... More
  • AgrAbility PA was featured on WPSU-FM... More

TN AgrAbility is a part of the Southern Farm Ranch and Stress Assistance Network (S-FRSAN three-year grant with Family and Consumer Sciences at UTIA) which has been rebranded as SAgE (Southern Ag Exchange Network). TNAP staff participated in the regional SAgE planning workshop followed by the TN Farm Stress Summit hosted by TN Department of Ag and SAgE. More

Slide showing drawing of progressive possibilities as a result of decisions made while influenced by stress

Tennessee is working to stop the stigma associated with the idea of talking about mental health. Everyone should keep in mind the importance of checking on family, friends, neighbors, and self. More 

Slide advertising agrileadher women in ag conference.

Congratulation to Rebecca Brightwell, Kyle Haney, and all the conference organizers with Farm Again GA, conducting the virtual inaugural AgrileadHER virtual conference. This was a fantastic two days of powerful, strong women speakers for the women in ag conference. More 

2 women standing on opposite sides of a Tennessee AgrAbility pop-up display banner under a white tent.

TNAP exhibited at the Steak and Potatoes Field Day at the Plateau AgResearch & Education Center in Crossville with the Farmer Veteran Coalition of TN. The field day covered topics of interest to beef cattle producers, fruit and vegetable producers... More 

TN AgrAbility helped promote a new resource tool for TN farmers: the UT Center of Farm Management. This center has a dedicated purpose of enhancing the long-term profitability and sustainability of agricultural enterprises in the state and across the Southeast. More

TNAP presented AgrAbility to an Extension informational meeting about the upcoming "2023 Master Farm Family Health and Wellness Program." More

TNAP promoted "AgriStress Response: QPR for Farmers and Farm Families." More


TN AgrAbility's nonprofit partner, The STAR Center, celebrated Happy National Nonprofit Day! Because of donations, The STAR Center champions people of all ages with disabilities by helping them believe in themselves and develop the skills necessary to live up to their full potential. To donate, please visit 

Left side of John Deere tractor showing 3 added steps to climb into cab.

A Lawrence County farmer received two extra steps with handrails for his John Deere tractors with assistance to help offset the cost from TN Farm Bureau Health Plan and TN AgrAbility. More

Overhead picture of parking lot with 5 grain bins behind it & a loaded grain truck in the lot with people in it.

Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale, and Tipton Counties participated in the TN Grain Bin Safety/Rescue Awareness Training. The classroom portion was held at the Millsfield Fire Department in Dyersburg ,TN,... More

17 people - men and women - in a line inside a building looking at camera

BattleGround to Breaking Ground held Basic Training for their Cohort 12 participants along with graduation for Cohort 10 and their first group of mentors in the Mentor Training Program.

Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground staff partnered with the AgriSafe Network to host a "QPR for Farmers and Farm Families" training. This training is designed to help identify signs of mental health crisis in the agricultural community. 


AgrAbility of Utah was excited to set up a booth and visit with many of the sheep producers that attended the Utah Wool Growers Association Conference on August 1. The event was held at Utah State University and was attended by over 90 people. 

A service project was organized by AgrAbility of Utah for one of its clients. Students from Dr. Tyson Sorensen's personal and team leadership class volunteered to spend an afternoon taking down a fence and hauling away rocks on a farm owned by a very appreciative client in northern Utah.


AgrAbility Virginia is currently working with 17 farmer clients at various levels of engagement and need. More

This month, AgrAbility VA completed an outreach campaign directed towards large-animal veterinarians across the state. More

AgrAbility Virginia was featured on the PBS series "Home Grown in Virginia" where one of their field representatives, Tony, shared about adaptive tools that could help in the garden. More

Other community outreach was achieved at the Virginia Ag Expo in Port Royal. 

AgrAbility had a display throughout the month at the Alexander Black House Museum in Blacksburg. The exhibit on Virginia agriculture attracted 909 visitors. 

Staff member Tony also represented AgrAbility Virginia at the Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program Field Day on September 1.


In August and September, AgrAbility staff exhibited at several county fairs throughout Washington. Staff shared resources, displayed AT, and promoted new and developing lending library locations. 

New staff completed a successful home visit and are currently connecting the client with appropriate AT and other needed community resources.

International AgrAbility Network News
AgrAbility for Africa

AgrAbility for Africa's outreach experiences to promote and expand services via community workshops has proven very effective in developing a better understand of the needs while recruiting clients. More 

The chronic shortage of rehabilitation experts and service support across Africa hinders AgrAbility for Africa intervention efforts. More

Staff Changes and Recognition


Pic from chest up of man - Dr. Misra - in blue shirt & gray sport coat looking toward the right side of the picture.

Debasmita (Debu) Misra is a professor in the College of Engineering and Mines at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and new co-director of the AKAgrAbility Project. He has a Ph.D. in biosystems and agricultural engineering. He has been associated with the AKAgrAbility project since July 2022. He grew up in a farming community in India where his father was an irrigation engineer who inspired him to become an agricultural engineer. Since joining UAF, he has been engaged in various research and extension activities in the state. His efforts in the project will be focused on the engineering aspects and community engagement. 


Colleagues and Friends - the Kansas AgrAbility Project, funded from 2018-2022, concluded August 31st. It has been a privilege to work with USDA-NIFA, National AgrAbility, and each one of you to work toward making agriculture and life accessible to everyone that wants to participate. I have gained an immense amount of knowledge from the AgrAbility network of professionals and customers. Thank you!! I hope our paths will cross again someday as we continue to work to make our world a better place. I will still be with KSU in the BAE Department. My email will remain Best regards, Tawnie.


A couple in casual clothes sitting on the carpeted floor of a baby's room with the woman holding a baby and a black and white dog lying in front of them

Congratulations! Emily Jacobson and her husband, AJ, welcomed their son, Noah Andrew, to the world on August 4. He was born at 5:04 PM, weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz., and was 19 inches long. They are getting along well and are enjoying spending time with their new little man! Emily plans to come back sometime in October, so if you don't hear from her, no worries; she will eventually be back!

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility welcomes James Fry III as the new field agent. James comes from an educational and agricultural background and, as a previous educator and farm manager at one of the community colleges in NC, has some experience working with farmers with disabilities.


The Washington State AgrAbility Program (WSAP) would like to thank Kristen Hinton-VanValkenburg for her three years of service. Kristen has accepted a teaching position at Mount Vernon Christian and is headed back to the classroom. Rather than have one coordinator attempt to cover the 71,300 square miles of Washington State, WSAP has hired four part-time co-coordinators. Please help me in welcoming Alyssa Wade (NE), Emily Whittier (SE), Debbie Fredricks (SW), and Deb Eidsness (NW). In addition to four part time co-coordinators, WSAP has also added Kimberly Lingerich to the payroll to assist with the NTW. Kimberly resides in Spokane, so having boots on the ground of the event location will be an added benefit. We look forward to seeing everyone in March. In the meantime, Go Cougs!


Portrait from shoulders up of smiling woman - Annie Klahn - with hair pulled back & wearing blue print top against a red brick wall.

AgrAbility of Wisconsin is pleased to welcome Andrea Klahn as its new outreach specialist. Prior to starting at AgrAbility, Klahn worked as a marketing & communications specialist at AgSource Cooperative Services (now part of VAS) for seven years. For the past four years, she has been a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters, ages 4 and 2. 

Klahn grew up on a farrow-to-finish hog and cash crops farm in Lodi, WI, and attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison to study agricultural journalism. When she's not chasing after a toddler, she enjoys going to the farmers market and reading. 

Man - John Shutske - standing outside holding clear see-through award with a red & white poster behind him and green combine behind that.

In July, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) presented John Shutske, UW-Madison professor and agricultural safety and health specialist, with the Ergonomics, Safety, and Health Award. The award was presented to recognize Shutske's 37 years of leadership and interdisciplinary teamwork that focuses on tackling long-accepted problems through Extension, engineering, and education for a safer and healthier agricultural workplace. More

Portrait of Cheryl Skojlaas - a woman with short-cropped light hair in yellow turtleneck and dark pullover

Well done, Cheryl! After a 38-year career with UW Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at UW-Madison, Cheryl Skjolaas retired this past July. Cheryl started her career as a 4-H youth agent in Pierce County. She came to work at the UW-Madison in 1990. More

AgrAbility in the News

Click titles below for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.

Other News

Click titles below for other news of interest to AgrAbility staff members.

 Photo showing front and back of red black & white NEBRASKA EXTENSION CARES card with info on rural response-suicide prevention-& family helpline
Upcoming Events

Click here for professional development events related to AgrAbility

Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,

Copyright © 2022 Purdue University