March 2021
A monthly update for AgrAbility projects and friends of AgrAbility
Thank you to all our presenters and participants in the NTW virtual sessions! Average attendance for the first six sessions has been 75. Presentations have all been recorded and are available on the NAP website HERE. The next session is "Communicating with Farmers Under Stress" with Susan Harris, Glennis McClure, and Ryan Evans on Tuesday, March 16 at 1:00 p.m. ET. More

The NAP would like to try to plan an in-person Regional Workshop or two, possibly for late spring or summer 2021. Anyone interested in hosting a Regional Workshop in conjunction with Goodwill and NAP, please contact Tess tmckeel@ or JoBeth More

NAP is pleased to welcome back Steve Swain for some part-time assistance. He will also be handling vocational rehabilitation cases for the Indiana AgrAbility Project. He can still be reached at

Two worksite assessment recordings - both featuring Abbie Spackman from AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians - have been added to the Virtual New Staff Training section of
Brad Rein smiles at camera during Zoom meeting.
The archive of the February 24 all-staff meeting is available at

The AgrAbility/North Central FRSAN webinar, "Stressors and Resources for Farm/Ranch Families with Disabilities," featuring Bob Fetsch and Carey Portell, has been archived at

Paul Jones recorded a podcast on AgrAbility and accessible gardening for "ADA Live!" a broadcast produced by the Southeast ADA Center. It is scheduled to be aired on April 7 at 1:00 p.m. on
Toolbox Spotlight
Measuring 24 inches long and weighing 5 pounds, the RotoShovel Cordless Handheld Shovel-Auger can be used for many different gardening and landscaping tasks, including planting vegetable crops, bulbs, annual flowers, even small trees and shrubs, digging postholes for fencing/mailboxes/signs, etc. With a press of the thumb trigger, its 12-volt battery-powered auger reportedly digs holes up to 3 inches in diameter and 7 inches deep in a matter of seconds; and its attached, removable shovel blade scoops out the soil as the holes are dug.
The Alaska AgrAbility team, as a panel, gave an hour-long presentation on accessible gardening at the Alaska Botanical Garden's Virtual Spring Garden Conference. More
DeShana York is part of the planning team for an upcoming (March 20) Alaska Women in Agriculture virtual event. This event is the first of its kind and is themed "Strong Then, Strong Now" and designed to take a look at Alaska agriculture through a multi-generational lens of then, now, and into the future. More

Last month, Assistive Technology of Alaska (ATLA) staff gave a presentation to Providence Nurse Networking Group. In addition, ATLA is hosting an "Older Person's Action Group Networking Meeting."
California AgrAbility staff attended the Monthly RISE Collaborative via Zoom. Staff presented on their activities and their upcoming event to educate promotores on vaccinations, especially for rural communities. More
Staff attended the third session of the AgrAbility National Training Workshop, "21 Tools and Strategies to Working Smarter not Harder," led by Kelly Gagnon with Grit HQ. Kelly provided a time management tool called the Four Quadrants of Time Management. More
California AgrAbility attended the "Stressors and Resources for Farm/Ranch Families with Disabilities" NAP & FRSAN webinar presented by North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center. Panelists included Carey Portell a farmer from Saint James, MO, and Dr. Robert Fetsch with Colorado Agrability. More
California AgrAbility staff hosted the Encuentro de Promotores: Vacunación para COVID-19 event presented by Puentes Network. Yolo County Agricultural Program Coordinator Esmeralda Garza briefly spoke about services offered by the county for those who would like to register for the COVID-19 vaccine, who are ill with COVID-19 and may need assistance, or who may need a safe place to quarantine. More
The Colorado AgrAbility Project is always looking for funds to assist clients. This month, staff had an opportunity to apply for some grant money from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. If successful, the grant will fund some modest acquisitions of assistive technology for veteran farmers as well as dollars for CSU-sponsored veterans-to-farmers ag education.
AgrAbility staff presented to the University of Georgia agriculture and natural resource agents about AgrAbility at their quarterly meetings held during the beginning of February. More

Georgia AgrAbility has been using software called Asana for client management since 2015. Asana is a free project management software that can easily be converted for use in case management. More

Dr. Glen Rains hosted, moderated, and presented for UGA's Tifton Campus Safety Week on a variety of topics. More
Kansas AgrAbility staff were all-hands-on-deck for the 2021 Women Managing the Farm Virtual Conference. KAP AT ag specialists Karin Rasmussen and Cassie Ramon presented "Taking Care of ALL the Generations on the Farm"... More

Women Managing the Farm is an annual conference that provides KAP staff the chance to meet women farmers, ranchers, and producers from across the state. The KS AgrAbility team strategically planned how to create a virtual booth with materials that would draw attendees and allow staff to chat and continue to develop relationships. More
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine AgrAbility were recently awarded an Extension Risk Management Education Grant to support their Boots-2-Bushels (B2B) program. More

Be sure to join Maine AgrAbility on March 23 at 1:00 p.m. EDT for the webinar, "Farming Smarter with Assistive Technology." More

Be sure to check out Maine AgrAbility's most recent news and blog posts: More
Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth Adopts AgrAbility for 2021! The Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth, MI, announced last month that they chose Michigan AgrAbility as their charity for the entire year! Wow! More

The 2021 MI Ag Ideas to Grow With Conference was held virtually on February 15-19. More

Subscribe to Michigan AgrAbility on YouTube! There you can find the latest video on the DIY beehive lifter.
Michigan AgrAbility staff continue their educational outreach efforts by posting assistive technology ideas to make farming jobs easier for our Facebook visitors. More
Look for a new Michigan AgrAbility publication coming soon that addresses employing workers with limitations. The publication will feature a story of Brian Combs who worked on a crop farm handling field and shop duties for 30 years. More
For social media, Missouri AgrAbility focused its efforts on endorsing the Missouri chapter of Heroes to Hives, promoting webinars relevant to its clients, and promoting Grain Bin Safety Week. More

Vox magazine featured MU Extension's Heroes to Hives state chapter, funded by Missouri AgrAbility and Missouri's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers programs. The article, Veterans find new mission in beekeeping, can be read by clicking here.

Missouri AgrAbility staff and professional consultants provided face-to-face, fee-for-service Vocational Rehabilitation, Rehab Services for the Blind, and Missouri AgrAbility onsite farmstead assessments for client farmers with disabilities. More

University of Missouri Extension would like to welcome Elizabeth Picking, field specialist in livestock and Elisabeth Gooch, student professional to the Missouri AgrAbility team. Check out their bios in "Staff Changes and Recognitions" below.

Lincoln University's Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) in collaboration with the University of Missouri has been busy throughout the month of February! More

Two new staff members have joined ISFOP in the Southwest Region (SWR) and have been trained on the Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP). More

AgrAbility is featured as a resource in the Brain Injury Recovery Step by Step brochure. Distribution of this print, braille, and electronic resource is being coordinated with rehabilitation hospitals and community-based providers across Missouri that serve AgrAbility customers. More
Tim Sullivan from Farm Rescue Foundation presented Rod Peterson from Nebraska AgrAbility a $1,000 check for the AgrAbility Assistive Technology Fund. More

Staff is working with a young gentleman who suffered a spinal cord injury. He is so excited to be able to take care of his cattle again. It has been rewarding to search for and find the assistive technology that he needs to be independent and successful.
The Nebraska AgrAbility Advisory Board met in February to share ideas, brainstorm marketing verbiage, and catch up with all activity from 2020. There was some great dialogue among the 24 board members.
North Carolina
On February 22, NC AgrAbility participated as a presenter at the AgriShop Series workshop. Betty presented "Ergonomics in Farming" to a group of 38 farmers.

NC AgrAbility partners meet monthly to discuss the status of their clients and find ways to help smooth the process when needed.

NC AgrAbility actively participates with the NC Farmworker Health Program as a board member - this month assisting with the Rural Health Clinics proposal review for funding on February 11.

NC AgrAbility presented on February 17 at the NC Agromedicine Institute Board of Partners meeting.

Betty is collaborating with a minority group of farmers in eastern North Carolina where Black Americans, Native Americans, veterans, and women in farming meet every other Thursday evening. The Inter-Agency Outreach Concepts and Guidelines with Beginning Farmers and Ranchers shares experiences and resources among participants.

NC AgrAbility is constantly providing access to training for staff and collaborators by participating in the AgriSafe Network and AgrAbility webinars.

NC AgrAbility has been providing onsite visits to its NC farmers with disabilities.
Ohio AgrAbility hosted two Caregiver Support Network webinars on February 17: "Respite and Caregiver needs: Creating your respite action plan," and "Sharing respite experiences and resources: Where do I start?" More

Ohio AgrAbility staff are planning two or three more webinars for 2021 and are working with professionals across Ohio to select topics and identify speakers. More
After a snowy February in Pennsylvania, the staff is looking forward to S-P-R-I-N-G! Farm assessments, virtual presentations, and outreach efforts continue as staff work to find new ways to engage and raise awareness of AgrAbility PA despite cancellation of the typical in-person events that would have filled the calendars this time of year.
The PA Veteran Farming Project - connecting military veterans, Guard, and Reserve members to resources for farming and agribusiness in Pennsylvania - held its annual winter conference virtually this year in February, and AgrAbility PA was highlighted as one of their key partners. More
An article on AgrAbility PA and veterans appeared in U.S. Dept of Veteran Affairs' The Rural Connection quarterly newsletter - Winter 2021. The article includes links to key stakeholders, including NAP, and featured Farmer Veteran Cathie Dibert and her work with AgrAbility PA. The story appears on page 9 of the newsletter.
Staff have been involved in a number of NAP-related activities and virtual events and presentations. Abbie led a NTW unconferencing session focused on worksite assessments on February 9. More

Staff provided an AgrAbility PA presentation to the Lebanon County Council of Human Services Agencies on February 12. More
"Plant for a Change" is a new business that "cultivates native habitats and sustains greener neighborhoods and is proudly Tennessee's first for-profit plant business co-owned and co-managed alongside individuals with and without intellectual disabilities." More

TN AgrAbility Project promoted National Grain Bin Safety Week, February 21-27, to increase awareness about dangers related to grain bins.

TN AgrAbility Project was contacted by the TN Grain Conference committee for someone to speak on farm equipment. More
Texas AgrAbility staff shared resources and financial assistance programs to all clients affected by Winter Storm Uri.

Texas AgrAbility staff is working with occupational doctoral student and intern Meghan Skidmore to deliver educational modules for rural practitioners. More
The February edition of the Texas AgrAbility newsletter was disseminated. Featured stories included winter storm assistance programs, grant opportunities, and a fence line feeder. Check out the February newsletter HERE.

Staff member Makenzie Thomas joined Georgia AgrAbility for a webinar on Asana for client case management tracking.

Staff members Cheryl Grenwelge and Makenzie Thomas met with Alaska AgrAbility staff to share practices for delivering services in a large state. Information on virtual assessment protocol and client case management was shared.

A referral form was developed for centers for independent living and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) migrant and Hispanic farmworker program. More
On February 22, AgrAbility of Utah staff provided training to the staff of Options for Independence, a non-residential center for independent living that provides assistance to people with disabilities in the three most northern counties of Utah.

AgrAbility of Utah staff attended the Cache Interagency Council's online meeting on February 22 and explained AgrAbility to the 30 participants. The Cache Interagency Council's mission 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 12 farmer clients at various levels of engagement and need, including a mixed vegetable farmer in Fluvanna County who has rheumatoid arthritis.

The webinar "Injury Prevention for Farmers" on February 16th was very successful with about 30 attendees. More

Staff compiled a 45-minute informational video for the Mid-Atlantic Strawberry School regarding AgrAbility programming, on-farm safety, and agritourism safety.

Program evaluation efforts are underway with nine completed surveys so far. Qualitative interviews will begin soon.

The AgrAbility Virginia advisory group met in early February and staff gathered excellent feedback and suggestions from the team of farmers and ag health providers.

Program Coordinator Garland Mason tested the Facebook live feature for AgrAbility Virginia on February 10. More

AgrAbility Virginia is working on translating materials into Spanish and will soon have printed versions of a brochure in Spanish available.

AgrAbility Virginia and North Carolina AgrAbility are beginning a multistate marketing collaboration. The first project will be a regional "On the Farm Radio" advertisement campaign. Details are being worked out over the next few weeks.
Washington State AgrAbility Program (WSAP) offered an AgrAbility and veterans workshop through the Washington State Department of Veteran's Affairs on February 19 where five people participated from across the state. Connections have been made with all six incubator farms within the state for follow-up conversations and on-farm demonstrations to be done in the spring.

WSAP hosted a virtual workshop titled "Aching Hands and Stomped on Feet" on February 23 facilitated by Curt Johnson, assistive technology specialist with Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP). Nine people participated from across the state.

WSAP, In conjunction with Curt Johnson, delivered a presentation on preventing injuries to Viva farms participants.

WSAP staff had the privilege of an on-farm visit with a disabled young woman who shared her success with equipment modification and provided demonstrations and allowed for video and sharing to assist WSAP program.

WSAP is working with DVR and WA Labor & Industries to produce "Pathway to Services," a tool for injured farmers to help navigate the web of existing state resources and determine eligibility.

WSAP staff is working with local Master Gardeners to update their adaptive gardening tool display at the Discovery Gardens.
AgrAbility of WI staff will be hosting their Virtual Summit in April. They will have three different topics on three different days of the week. Once speakers are confirmed, they will be sharing additional information. Staff are looking forward to warmer days in the future and the farmers being able to get in the fields.
AgrAbility for Africa
Stanford University's Mechanical Engineering Design Group held a virtual assistive technology fair February 25, and the AgrAbility for Africa staff were invited to attend the lecture hosted by David L. Jaffe, an instructor at Stanford University, titled "Perspectives in Assistive Technology." More

In the quest to expand their outreach and growth, and in response to the current coronavirus travel restrictions and the increased cases of farmer exploitation due to undiagnosed medical conditions, AgrAbility for Africa staff are enhancing their communication and education strategies. More
Melody Boling, ACSW, LCSW, recently joined the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) as project director to help implement Missouri AgrAbility marketing and networking activities. Ms. Boling grew up in rural Missouri and has more than 20 years of experience with disabilities and community resources.

The University of Missouri Extension would also like to welcome Elizabeth Picking and Elisabeth Gooch to Missouri AgrAbility.
Elizabeth Picking, a field specialist in livestock with University of Missouri Extension, has joined the MO AgrAbility team. Elizabeth serves farmers and ranchers in southcentral Missouri. Before she started her position with MU Extension in 2018, she completed her bachelor's degree in animal science and her master's degree in physiology of reproduction from Texas A&M University. More
Elisabeth Gooch is a junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying agriculture education leadership and communication with an emphasis in food science and wants to further her education in a master's in food science upon graduation in the fall of 2021. She grew up in the small rural town of Mexico, Missouri. Elisabeth is joining the University of Missouri AgrAbility project team to assist with social media outreach and data collection. More
Click titles below for news stories featuring AgrAbility projects.
Problems? Contact Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project,

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