February 2021
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
AgrAbility All-Staff Virtual Meeting: Wednesday, February 24 at 3:00 p.m. ET. This meeting will feature Brad Rein and Lelan Dixon for a “Virtual PI Session,” similar to those held at the NTW. However, ALL AgrAbility staff members are welcome and encouraged to participate. Brad and Lelan will share updates, and questions from participants will be welcomed.
2021 AgrAbility National Training Workshop
  • The first two NTW virtual session were successes! More
  • If you missed these sessions, they were recorded and archived HERE .
  • If you haven't registered yet, a schedule for the first four months and a registration link is available on the NTW tab of the NAP website HERE.

Staff would like to try to plan an in-person regional workshop or two, possibly for late spring or summer 2021. Interested in hosting? Please contact Tess tmckeel@goodwillfingerlakes.org or JoBeth jbrath@goodwillfingerlakes.org. More
Upcoming webinar: "Stressors and Resources for Farm/Ranch Families with Disabilities," Thursday, February 25, 1:00 ET. Stress can have a profound effect on any agricultural producer; however, for those with disabilities, the impacts of stress can be compounded by a variety of additional factors. Featured presenters are Bob Fetsch and Carey Portell More
Toolbox Spotlight
Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner, and that means severe weather for many parts of the country. An Above-Ground Storm Shelter is designed to resist high winds, object impact, shifting foundations, flooding, and heavy rains. It's made either of thick steel plates that are bolted together or of pre-cast, steel-reinforced concrete. 
ATLA Staff gave presentations on assistive technology access and acquisition to groups such as Kiwanis Clubs and Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Older Blind Group. They also attended the Alaska Public Health Association Summit.
AgrAbility Staff participated in the statewide conference Alaska Forum on the Environment with multiple virtual booth sessions February 8-11.

A series of workshops in collaboration with the Anchorage Cooperative Extension Service (CES) Office were offered on health and wellness in the new year to AgrAbility and CES clientele statewide. More

Art Nash, AK AgrAbility PI, is teaching a "Universal Design in Alaska for Home and Garden" virtual course for a group of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute clientele. More
California AgrAbility and Washington State University Extension hosted the Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program (WRASAP) Quarterly Networking Meeting on January 14. More
California AgrAbility staffed a virtual booth at the 41st Annual EcoFarm Conference January 20-23. The Eco Farm Conference nurtures just and ecologically sustainable farms and food systems through education, alliance building, celebration, and advocacy. More

Staff attended the RISE Collaborative Meeting of Yolo County. A representative from Empower Yolo presented on human trafficking and how it has affected Yolo County and the Greater Sacramento Region. More

Staff joined the roundtable inviting attendees to the National Training Workshop webinars occurring every Tuesday for the next several months.
The Colorado AgrAbility Project commenced and completed its annual Winter Workshops. For the first time, these were delivered in webinar format. More

The proliferation of web-based events since COVID has opened up more avenues for training than Colorado AgrAbility has had in the past. More

Regis University Denver campus has sent two OT interns to Colorado AgrAbility for level-one experiences. More
Georgia AgrAbility staff gave two presentations at the Virtual SE Fruit and Vegetable Conference. More

On January 8, staff presented "Robotic Cotton Harvesting and Laser Weed Management Update" at the Virtual Beltwide Cotton Conference. The presentation included updates on research to automate harvesting and weed management in cotton.

Staff attended the Southern Center Food Safety Annual Meeting on January 21-22. Staff were able to hear updates from projects across the South and participate in discussions on how to shape the Southern Center over the course of the next several years.
Indiana AgrAbility and the Indiana Chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition hosted a full-day in-person workshop for military veterans interested in farming and agriculture on January 29 at Purdue University's Beck Agricultural Center. Special guest U.S. Congressman Jim Baird joined veterans, AgrAbility staff, and speakers for the program. More
For a January during a pandemic, Maine AgrAbility has been BUSY!

Boots-2-Bushels 2021 has started. Maine AgrAbility has a great group of veterans and their family members. More

The 80th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show went virtual this month. Staff took full use of the Whova platform and hosted meet-ups, online conversations, requests for stickers, and even a lunchtime watch party of one of their favorite AgrAbility videos - "On the Farm." More

Be sure to check out Maine AgrAbility's most recent news and blog posts: 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: More

Each year in January, Michigan AgrAbility mails an annual survey to all Michigan AgrAbility clients who were served in the prior calendar year. More
Missouri AgrAbility focused its social media efforts on promoting programs and resources offered by collaborative partners and cooperative organizations that serve AgrAbility client farmers, youth, and farm families. Missouri continues to create new videos for the Missouri AgrAbility YouTube Channel.

Missouri's state chapter of Heroes to Hives has brought on board Shirin Ghatrehsamani, an agricultural engineer, to assist with developing resources that support 21st century emerging technologies. More

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension's Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program (ISFOP) in collaboration with the University of Missouri Extension (UME) has hired two videographers and an agricultural engineer, published an eBook and an article on the Jesup Wagon 2.0 method of education, and will be helping Missouri's NC Farm and Ranch Stress Team members. More

AgrAbility marketing was part of the outreach for BIA-MO Networking Coffees for Professionals that reached more than 300 professionals in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, rehabilitation, and community supports.

Marketing efforts continue to directly connect BIA-MO Inc. with potential AgrAbility client farmers, youth, and farm families through the distribution of the Brain Injury Association Caregivers Guide with Missouri AgrAbility program details.
For Nebraska AgrAbility, it's one more step to a safer work environment: both on-site specialists have received their first vaccinations and are getting back into the field on client visits! More

This weekend kicked off the first veteran farmer session hosted by Center for Rural Affairs. Nebraska AgrAbility is connecting with veteran farmers about assistive technology for their operations. More
North Carolina
NC AgrAbility is participating in the planning committee of the Farmer Veteran Coalition - North Carolina Chapter Spring Educational Conference. This conference will provide a wealth of information to help veterans who are farming and those who want to become farmers. NC AgrAbility, Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation, and the state VR agency will have a panel session at the event.

NC AgrAbility has been preparing staff and collaborators by participating in the AgriSafe Network and AgrAbility webinars.

NC AgrAbility has been providing direct services to their NC farmers with disabilities.
Ohio AgrAbility staff have started 2021 with presentations of "Ohio AgrAbility: Assistive Technology to Keep you Farming" on accessible conferences and events. Staff are also preparing for their second Caregiver Support Network workshop on February 17: "Respite! Respite? Respite...." More
The AgrAbility PA staff kicked off 2021 at the Keystone Farm Show in York, PA, on January 5-7. More
AgrAbility PA Project Assistant Abbie Spackman joined Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding for a Facebook Live panel discussion, "Cultivating Diversity: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Agriculture," on January 14. More
TN AgrAbility is happy to welcome a new year and has high hopes for 2021! Staff kicked off the year with lots of publicity.

TN AgrAbility was featured in the winter 2021 issue of Our Tennessee, the University of TN alumni magazine that has a readership of over 200,000, in the article "Serving Those Who Have Served." More

TNAP helped promote the Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Fund. More

Here is some follow-up to a 2020 story on Jason Barber, TN AgrAbility customer who is a legally blind farmer. Jason has been talking with OrCam from Israel to help improve their product to help farmers with visual impairments. More
Occupational therapy interns Meghan Skidmore and Faye McGuire visited the FEAT Farm in Gatesville for some hands-on agriculture experience. They met with veteran farm manager Heidi Barber and visited a local sale barn.

Texas AgrAbility hosted a training for farm managers of the Compatible Lands Foundation AgVets grant. Makenzie Thomas presented on AgrAbility services, needs of veteran farmers and ranchers with disabilities, and the referral process.

Texas AgrAbility staff member Makenzie Thomas completed QPR Gatekeeper Training for farmers and farm families. The training, offered through the Southeast Center for Agriculture Health and Injury Prevention, utilized the question, persuade, and refer model, and included additional resources for farmers and farm families.

Factsheets were updated and made accessible for download from the Texas AgrAbility website. You can view and download the educational factsheets here.
AgrAbility of Utah staff were able to meet online with staff from the Utah Office of Rehabilitation on January 14 to discuss the VR Farm & Ranch, address any issues, and answer questions about each other's organization.

AgrAbility of Utah was able to become a member of the Cache Chamber of Commerce through a CARES grant and was able to present at the chamber's monthly leadership meeting January 19. The event was attended both virtually and in person.

On January 21, AgrAbility of Utah presented virtually to 30 members of the Cache Interagency Council. The mission of the Cache Interagency Council is to unite non-profits and community service organizations in sharing ideas, upcoming events, and ongoing services, thus producing a spirit of unity and cooperation among the participating organizations.
AgrAbility Virginia is currently working with ten farmer clients at various levels of engagement and need, including a farmer in Louisa County who recently had a stroke.
AgrAbility Virginia is co-hosting a webinar with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition called "Injury Prevention for Farmers" on February 16 at 1 p.m. EST. More

AgrAbility Virginia staff are moving forward with program evaluation efforts for the month of February including hardcopy and electronic surveys to farmers and partner service providers. Follow-up qualitative interviews are also being organized.

The AgrAbility Virginia Advisory Group, which consists of farmers and agriculture professionals, will be meeting virtually on February 8. Staff will update the group on programming and gather feedback.

Virginia Tech graduate students working with AgrAbility Virginia are developing advanced assistive technologies for farmers. A prototype of a knee brace is now ready for testing and a prototype of a glove will be ready by the fall.
Washington State AgrAbility Project (WSAP) in conjunction with Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program (WrASAP) presented program information and updates at four Washington Farm Bureau safety workshops across the state where 123 people attended virtually in the month of January.

WSAP and WrASAP also presented their program and updates virtually to the three Skagit County commissions on January 5.

Georgia AgrAbility reached out and offered assistance to WSAP via virtual training on January 11 where they generously shared helpful knowledge, tools, and information.

WSAP hosted a virtual workshop titled "Aching Hands and Stomped on Feet" on January 28, facilitated by Curt Johnson, assistive technology specialist with Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP). Thirty-three people participated from across the state.

Staff met with a local machinery dealership to develop a working relationship for potential clients needing machinery modifications.

WSAP continues to build its lending library based on specific injury sectors and are continuing to update the website with the lending library resources - which are now live! Click here to view them.

WSAP is dedicated to accessibility and is in the process of translating its website into Spanish so that resources are available to more of Washington's farmers and farmworkers. An AgrAbility promotional video has been produced and is now available in Spanish!

Staff met with Viva Farms staff and outlined a presentation on AT to prevent injury. Staff will follow up with on-farm demonstrations days.

WSAP is working with DVR and WA Labor & Industries to produce "Pathway to Services," a tool for injured farmers to help navigate the web for existing state resources and determine eligibility.
AgrAbility of Wisconsin is off to a great start in 2021. Staff have been able to host their first webinar in late January with WI NRCS Disability Emphasis Program Manager Lizzy Dawson. More

Staff will be planning a virtual AgrAbility Summit for early April. Watch for more information in the future.
AgrAbility for Africa
Findings by different partners indicate that there are gaps in the social protection systems across parts of Africa that hinder assistive technology access and vocational rehabilitation services extension to rural farming communities. More

On January 28, AgrAbility for Africa staff joined the Disability Innovation Hub in a webinar on emerging areas of disability innovation for the purpose of developing more knowledge and expertise in the industry. More
Brenda Schreck, a University of Missouri Extension county engagement specialist in livestock and youth development based in Lewis County, located in the Northeast region, joined the MO AgrAbility team. She is an FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventative Controls qualified individual, working with elevator firms to ensure they are compliant with USDA quality food regulations and guidelines. Brenda will serve as the Missouri AgrAbility outreach coordinator for the Northeast region. More
We welcome Whitney Valasec, OT candidate from Drake University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to our team for the spring semester! Whitney will be working on her doctoral capstone with us to locate more grant funding sources, participate in farm assessment visits, and develop educational materials to support Nebraska AgrAbility. Whitney says, "Earlier this year I chose the quote 'Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.' (-unknown) to motivate my final stretch to graduation and becoming an OT!"
Two occupational therapy doctoral students, Faye McGuire and Meghan Skidmore, joined the Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground team as interns for the semester.
Faye McGuire is an occupational therapy doctoral student with MCH Institute of Health Professions in Boston. Her work with the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program will focus on conducting analysis on the transition process from military service to agriculture. More
Meghan Skidmore is an occupational therapy doctoral student with the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Her work with AgrAbility will focus on developing an educational course for rural occupational therapists serving farmers and ranchers. Meghan has also met with AgrAbility clients virtually to conduct occupational therapy assessments. More
Click titles below for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.

Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project, baldwi19@purdue.edu

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