For daily news updates, resources and links, follow us on Facebook!
Check out our YouTube Channel.
Can’t get enough NC AgrAbility? We are also on Twitter.
Get regular updates about NC AgrAbility and other news from National AgrAbility Project. Subscribe to the National AgrAbility E-note newsletter.
Western NC farmers: Don’t forget to join us April 28th for an informal lunch to meet other Western NC AgrAbility farmers and talk about….whatever is on your mind!
What: NC AgrAbility Western Farmer Lunch 2015
When: Tuesday April 28th, 2015 from 12:00noon- 2:00pm
Where: Bob Evans-Hickory
Address: 2330 15th Ave SE Hickory, NC 28602
Phone: (828) 345-‐0200
Lunch will be on your own (Dutch) and a family friendly event. Please feel free to bring friends or family.
To RSVP, contact: Michele Proctor, NC AgrAbility Project Coordinator at (336) 430-2970 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Our North Carolina “Let’s Talk About Arthritis – Hablemos Sobre Artritis” workshop series will continue into the new year. The last regional workshop will be held April 23, 2015 in Greenville, NC at the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute- East Carolina University West Campus. This workshop was made possible by a safety grant from the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America and is part of a partnership with the Arthritis Foundation- Mid Atlantic Region. Registration will open later this month for these events. For more information, click here to view the PDF flier.
It’s here! April 13-16 in Rochester, New York for the 2015 AgrAbility National Training Workshop, the premier training event addressing issues of disability in agriculture. Professionals and consumers from all over the country will participate in four days of plenary sessions, breakouts, tours, networking and special events. For more information, visit http://agrability.org/ntw/ or visit www.conf.purdue.edu/agrability to register.
If your organization would like to sponsor this important event or sponsor a stipend for a North Carolina producer to attend the 2015 National AgrAbility Training Workshop, please let us know! Contact us via our Contact Us page.
NC AgrAbility has been committed to engaging future engineers and health care professionals in concepts of assisting producers with disabilities or chronic conditions and preventing injuries on the farm. In early March, project coordinator Michele Proctor, in collaboration with NC Assistive Technology Program Executive Director Tammy Koger and NCDHHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Engineer Steve Brink presented a new lecture session to NC State University first-year engineering students entitled “Rehabilitation Engineering, Assistive Technology and NC AgrAbility”. Invited by Dr. Andy Hale, 40 students learned about potential applications for their engineering degrees in the fields of assistive technology and rehabilitative engineering, and how those are applied with AgrAbility concepts to assist farmers with disabilities. The lecture was created from a strong interest from engineering students looking for ways to get involved in AgrAbility or rehabilitation engineering for farmers.
National Agriculture Day was March 18th; this is a day to honor the abundance provided by agriculture and increase public awareness of the role ag has in modern society. Find out more at: http://www.agday.org/
NC AgrAbility participated in the 2015 North Carolina Small Farms Week Curbside Consulting, hosted by North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro on March 24, 2015. The NC AgrAbility display of assistive tools for gardening with Arthritis or disabilities as well as educational materials on farming with disabilities was part of the vendor trade show exhibits, and participants were able to stop by and get one-on-one consultations with project coordinator Michele Proctor about accommodating their own needs.
Small Farms Week recognizes the producers of small-scale agriculture in North Carolina who generate $250,000 or less annually in gross sales. For more information about events, visit www.ag.ncat.edu and click on “Cooperative Extension” or call 336-334-7956.
NC AgrAbility hosted the spring Eastern Peer Farmer Lunch at Grub Brother’s Eatery in Little Washington on March 19th. The group enjoyed meeting other AgrAbility farmers, including a new AgrAbility family, and heard updates about state and national AgrAbility news and events from project coordinator Michele Proctor. Gloria Jinks with the NC Assistive Technology Program presented a short session about NCATP services and assistive technology for agriculture. NC Agromedicine Institute Director Robin Tutor-Marcom shared information about eligibility for cost share assistance for assistive technology for AgrAbility clients.
The group faced a unique challenge when the restaurant did not have accessible means of egress for a powerchair user to the group dining area due to a step. Thankfully, Michele and Gloria made a quick dumpster dive across the street at a construction site and together with the farmer’s family were able to construct a make-shift ramp from plywood and concrete slab remains to allow the client access to the group dining area! NC AgrAbility would like to thank all the farmers and their family members who joined us for a great day of fellowship and sharing!
The 2015 NC Agricultural Medicine Core Course wrapped up March 26 and 27th at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC. Project Coordinator Michele Proctor presented the AgrAbility chapter of the course, and the presentations were delivered live to students on-site and also broadcast live to distance education students. In addition to other important topics in agricultural health and safety, participants learned about AgrAbility services, understanding considerations when assisting rural individuals with disabilities compared to urban environments, and adaptive solutions for farming with disabilities. Co-hosts/presenters also participating in the session included Robin Tutor-Marcom and LaMar Grafft with the NC Agromedicine Institute and Dr. Kelly Donham with the University of Iowa. NC AgrAbility has been integrated into the NC ‘Core Course’ since 2012.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the February 20th Western NC “Let’s Talk About Arthritis/ Hablemos Sobre Artritis” workshop, hosted by Western Carolina University Department of Physical Therapy. Dr. John Carzoli and Dr. Karen Lunnen with their team of Masters of Physical Therapy students led the training and participants engaged in learning exercises, stretches and teaching methods for implementing the curriculum with farmworkers in the field. NC AgrAbility project coordinator Michele Proctor presented information on AgrAbility services and selecting appropriate tools and solutions for farmworkers with Arthritis. This training was made possible through the Arthritis Foundation-Mid Atlantic and a 2014 Safety Grant from ASCHA.
NC AgrAbility was once again at the 2015 NC Cattlemen’s Association Conference at the Hickory Metro Center February 12-14. Thanks to all our “NC AgrAbility Project Groupies” for coming to the conference to see us and to all the new contacts we made. Livestock producers are at greater risk for injury due to the nature of their work, including raising cattle. This is always an important event for us. Thanks to everyone who made this event possible. For details on the conference, visit www.nccattle.com.
It was another chilly year at the 2015 Southern Farm Show! We had new toys and tools to share with folks and a guest exhibit from our community partners from the NC Division of Services for the Blind. Thanks to everyone who came to check out what’s new this year at the Farm Show. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for photos from this event and more! For a recap of events and information on next year’s Show, visit www.southernfarmshows.com.
Project Coordinator Michele Proctor presented “Intro to NC AgrAbility” at the Future Farming Forum on January 20, 2015 in the James Sprunt Community College Monk Auditorium in Kenansville, NC. The session was a dialogue about future farming, outreach and resources for limited resource farmers and veterans, sponsored by Custom Ag Solutions, NC A&T State University and the US Department of Agriculture RMA. Topics covered included risk management insurance and strategies, farming with disabilities, agricultural health and safety, benefits of community gardening and more! Participating partners include Surge Media LLC, NC AgrAbility Partnership, NC Agromedicine Institute, USDA StrikeForce and James Sprunt Community College SBA. A recording of this session will be aired on the radio in the coming months.
“Intro to AgrAbility” was presented by Michele Proctor at “Bridging the Informational Resources Gap: Connecting Farmers and Veterans to USDA Programs” January 21-22, 2015 in Rocky Mount, NC. More than 200 individuals attended and were able to participate in two days of resource sharing, including NC AgrAbility Project Director John Paul Owens. This event was an informational session designed to assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to improve their ability to start and maintain successful agricultural businesses and was hosted by the L.C. Cooper Jr. International Trade Center, North Carolina A&T State University, Farmers Outreach Solutions and USDA-NIFA Office of Advocacy and Outreach. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for photos from this event.
The 2015 NC Agricultural Medicine Core Course kicked off January 29-30, 2015 in Kannapolis, NC. The course was hosted by Robin Tutor-Marcom of the NC Agromedicine Institute, and Michele Proctor participated in discussion of behavioral roots of farm families, a farm perception on decision making and sources of farm accidents and other experience with injuries on the farm. The purpose of the “Core Course” is to provide participants with basic information and skills to recognize and work together to address &/or prevent occupational illness and injury in the farm environment; to prepare healthcare providers wishing to become recognized as AgriSafe providers. Partial registration is still available for the March session. For questions or to register, call the NC Agromedicine Institute at 252-744-1008.
Later that afternoon NC AgrAbility and the NC Agromedicine Institute hosted Dr. Mike Rosmann, Agricultural Psychologist & Iowa Farmer, for a session on tips for coping with everyday stressors associated with farm life and strategies for overcoming challenges of family farm relations to address issues with behavioral health and wellness on the farm. The session, entitled “Family Farming: Strategies for Overcoming the Challenges of Family Farming Relations” was held in conjunction with the Agricultural Medicine Core Course Friday, January 30, 2015 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm and was open to farm families and service providers working with farm families at the David Murdock Core Lab Building, NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC.
NC AgrAbility would like to congratulate the 2014-2015 NCSU Ag Engineering AgrAbility senior design teams. Both teams were chosen for NCSU undergraduate research scholarships! The teams wrapped up their research phase in early December and will progress to fabrication in January. We look forward to seeing their project outcomes wrap up in April 2015. We’d like to thank the NCSU Undergraduate Research Review Panel for their consideration and support of these projects. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates.
On December 01, project coordinator Michele Proctor presented to 30 NCSU Ag Engineering students on AgrAbility services and assessing agricultural equipment, assistive technology and environments for secondary risks. Students participated in activities to identify risks and implications of introducing assistive devices in an agricultural work place.
NC AgrAbility staff attended the 2014 Virtual National Training Workshop hosted by the National AgrAbility Project December 2-4, 2014.
Project Coordinator Michele Proctor and NCSU Ag Engineering intern Kenny Atkins attended the NC Special Populations Workgroup quarterly meeting on December 16, hosted by the NC Community Health Center Association in Raleigh, NC. Michele and Kenny shared information about NC AgrAbility services and the upcoming “Lets Talk About Arthritis” regional train-the-trainer workshops, which are made possible by a safety grant from the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America.
NC AgrAbility would like to congratulate and thank Dr. Mary Hildebrand on her new appointment with the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. Dr. Hildebrand has provided leadership and guidance for the Project and occupational therapy students since 2011. She has represented NC AgrAbility at the local, state, national and global level, raising awareness of project services, needs of aging farmers and competency needs of providers related to farming with disabilities or chronic conditions. Dr. Hildebrand will be working with NC AgrAbility to coordinate continuation of student projects and other continuing research. We wish Dr. Hildebrand the best of luck in her new role.
NC AgrAbility would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Thanks to all of our partners, support services and especially the North Carolina farmers for another great year!
Members of the NC AgrAbility direct services team participated in a conference call with professionals from other states involved in AgrAbility services and targeted projects with minority farmers with disabilities to strategize improved outreach and overcome barriers to services in coordination with NC Vocational Rehabilitation. Members in attendance included Michele Proctor- NC AgrAbility, Robin Tutor-Marcom- NC Agromedicine Institute, Ari Mwachofi- East Carolina University, Tammy Koger- NC Assistive Technology Program, Dr. Karen Funkenbusch- University of Missouri, and Steve Brink- NC Vocational Rehabilitation.
Michele Proctor and Dr. Gary Roberson were featured in a video showcasing NC AgrAbility student design projects at the 2014 NCSU Ag &Biotechnology Conference at the NC Biotechnology Center in Durham NC on November 18 & 19, 2014. Click here to view the video entitled “Stewards of the Future”.
NC AgrAbility client Neil Whitfield hosted Dr. Mary Hildebrand and the 2015 class of ECU Masters of Occupational Therapy class for a farm assessment training in Pink Hill, NC. Mr. Whitfield shared his personal story, explained accommodations that help him continue to farm and live independently and worked with students to complete a farm assessment exercise. NC Assistive Technology Program’s Gloria Jinks and NC Agromedicine Institute’s LaMar Grafft also attended the session to observe and assist in the exercise.
Dr. Mary Hildebrand and her team of MSOT students have been visiting NC farmers markets with educational displays and assistive tools to show to farmers as well as recruiting participation in several ongoing NC AgrAbility surveys. NC AgrAbility would like to thank Mary and her students for all their hard work and enduring some cold mornings on the road to make these appearances possible.
Despite a stormy start to the day, Michele Proctor, NC AgrAbility project coordinator, participated in the 2014 Beaufort County Ag Expo at Northside High School in Washington, NC. An estimated 600 students attended the Expo to learn about careers and services in agriculture in North Carolina. Students were able to interact with the NC AgrAbility display by trying out ergonomic gardening tools and other low-cost assistive devices for agriculture.
NC AgrAbility had another great showing at the 2014 NC State Fair. NC AgrAbility was again chosen by the NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to be the feature attraction in the NC Department of Agriculture exhibit “Agriculture Today.” The booth featured picture panels about the project as well as assistive devices for agriculture- both student designs as well as commercial options. The exhibit was open October 16-26, 2014. Special thanks go out to North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and all the volunteers from NCSU CALS for making this event possible. Photos from these events and more are on the NC AgrAbility Facebook and Twitter pages.
NC AgrAbility was once again part of the NC Rehabilitation Association/NC Assistive Technology Program G.R.E.A.T Conference. In addition to a booth of adaptive tools, equipment and resources, Dr. Mary Hildebrand of ECU Occupational Therapy and her MSOT students presented a one-hour CEU session on adaptive technology for agriculture. Participants received a make-and-take kit of adaptive products that can be made or purchased for $3.00 or less, sponsored by Rowan County Farm Bureau. Dr. Hildebrand and her students were joined in their presentation session by Life Essentials’ Bill Begley who shared more information with vocational rehabilitation professionals on Life Essentials products and services. NC AgrAbility would like to thank Life Essentials for coming to the expo and for their help to increase awareness of needs in NC.
Also at the GREAT Conference, NC AgrAbility farmer Neil Whitfield and project coordinator Michele Proctor were part of a segment in a video produced by the NC Department of Health & Human Services entitled “An Accessible Life” showcasing individuals who used assistive devices in innovative ways to maintain their independence and way of life. The video was was unveiled at the award ceremony on October 23, 2014. To view the video click here. Michele received the 2014 Stephen E. Sallee Assistive Technology Award of Excellence. Representatives from all four NC AgrAbility partners attended the conference on behalf of the project. Photos and more highlights from this year’s event can be found at http://ncrehab.org/
Michele Proctor along with project partner Mary Hildebrand of East Carolina Occupational Therapy presented an introductory continuing education session on AgrAbility and issues related to serving farmers with disabilities to 19 rehabilitation professionals at the Vidant Medical Center Rehabilitation Medicine on October 16, 2014. Attendees learned about AgrAbility services, how AgrAbility can assist them with clients in house as well as in the field and took part in making recommendations for hypothetical case studies.
The Arthritis Foundation – Mid-Atlantic Region, in partnership with the NC AgrAbility Partnership and North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, would like to thank everyone who joined us for the Let’s Talk About Arthritis – Hablemos Sobre Artritis workshop on October 7th and 8th, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NC AgrAbility project coordinator Michele Proctor and Missouri AgrAbility’s Karen Funkenbusch co-presented the tailored-for-NC training for health outreach professionals to educate farmworkers on Arthritis. It was a great two days of education, activities and networking. Thank you to the Arthritis Foundation, Mid Atlantic for this opportunity. This workshop was made possible by a safety grant from the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America. Please stay tuned- additional trainings will continue in 2015- February 20, 2015- Asheville and one in Kenansville, NC…. registration will open in December/January for these events. Click here to view the PDF event save-the-date flier.
What a fantastic April it has been for NC AgrAbility!
NC AgrAbility hosted its second Peer Farmer Lunch at The Seahorse Restaurant in Greenville, NC. The first Peer Farmer Lunch was in late January 2013. Presenters from both the Land Loss Prevention Project and USDA Risk Mitigation programs here in NC discussed ways farmers can protect their farms and livelihoods in case of emergency or financial hardship. The Peer Farmer Lunch opportunities are intended to be informal and family friendly, encouraging farmers with disabilities to come and meet each other to share stories and ideas about all aspects of life and farming with disabilities. Staff member participation is kept to a minimum to ensure a ‘mostly farmer’ atmosphere. The first lunch was a success, targeted at a concentrated area of farmers in the Eastern part of the state. The next lunch is scheduled for early May and will include a speaker to discuss farm land protection and estate planning. This meeting will be sponsored by North Carolina Farm Bureau. This program will be developed across the state in order to give farmers in all of North Carolina the opportunity to attend a Peer Farmer Lunch. The next Peer Farmer Lunch will be in early September 2013. For more info, please contact our coordinator via our Contact Us page. -May 30 2013
Six Master of Occupational Therapy students at East Carolina University’s College of Allied Health Sciences presented their final projects earlier in May. The student’s projects focused on various aspects of the NC AgrAbility Partnership’s direct services and results from statewide surveys measuring both number of farmers farming in NC with disabilities, and competency levels of health care providers and health care students regarding assisting farmers with disabilities and farm-related injuries. The presentations were in conjunction with the NC Occupational Therapists Conference in Greenville, NC. Four more ECU MSOT students will conduct AgrAbility research during the 2013-2014 academic year. -May 01, 2013
NCSU Biological & Agricultural Engineering (BAE) teams completed their final AgrAbility-based project design presentations April 26th. One team designed a conversion of a standard power chair into an all-terrain wheelchair. Click here to watch the YouTube demonstration video. The other team designed a water delivery system for a client with disabilities in Western NC. Both student projects were funded by BAE Undergraduate Research Grants or departmental project funds. Michele Proctor, project coordinator and Dr. Gary Roberson at NCSU Bio & Ag Engineering accompanied the water delivery team to the client’s farm for a 2-day install. Local and state media representatives were present, and a short documentary of the install will be featured on RFD-TV in January. See the video at http://www.youtube.com/ncfarmbureau. Both videos and more photos of the projects are on our Facebook page. -May 01, 2013
NC AgrAbility staff attended the 2013 National Training Workshop April 8-11, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nearly 200 people attended the premier training event addressing issues of disability in agriculture. NC AgrAbility was part of the state trade show, displaying state materials and resources. To see more from the conference or learn more about next year’s conference, visit www.conf.purdue.edu/agrability. -April 19, 2013
Mobility and access are two aspects of farming that many farmers may not identify as critical needs until they are forced to face life without them. Many farmers with disabilities caused by injury or aging struggle daily just to get around their farm or access the cabs of their farming equipment. With the help of the North Carolina AgrAbility Partnership (NC AgrAbility), two eastern NC farmers have built their own electric lifts to enable them to access their equipment easier and safer. While NC AgrAbility cannot provide drawings or direct engineering counsel, the project can provide farmers with an information packet of photos of similar designs from all over the country, and articles related to safety and design concerns in building your own lift. These two farmers took this information to their local fabricators and designed their own lifts to fit their needs and equipment. There are few vendors nationwide that commercially sell this type of assistive technology for farmers, and many of the ones that do are expensive. As most farmers will tell you, with the right design and safety considerations, a do-it-yourself build can often save money and provide local economy stimulation. NC AgrAbility helps farmers weigh their options and consider all aspects of their personal safety in implementing a new assistive device. NC AgrAbility is proud to have been a part of helping farmers like these regain a higher level of independence on their farms. -May 10, 2013
NC AgrAbility had a front row spot at the 2013 Southern Farm Show at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds January 30-February 1. Student projects from NC State University Agricultural Engineering were on display, as well as the debut of the NC AgrAbility refurbished tractor lift, ergonomic tool kit, and the Garden Scoot, a device designed to assist with mobility for ground-level gardening jobs. The display was a success with lots of interest. -February 06, 2013