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Conference summary: "NAP Workshop Brings Winning Spirit to Farmers," by conference participant and farmer Pamela Martin, Lone Willow Farm, Franklin, NC


Monday, March 31: Pre-Conference

Activity Lead Presenter(s) and Presentation(s)

New Staff Training

This session gives an overview of the AgrAbility Program for new staff members or those wanting a refresher. Some topics covered include a perspective from the USDA, the role of the National Project, resources available, evaluation procedures, and sources of help inside and outside AgrAbility. Participants will also have opportunities to network with one another, NAP staff members, and USDA contacts.

National AgrAbility Staff

Worksite Assessments for Assistive Technology

Farmers often fabricate devices and processes to help them overcome their limitations but end up making modifications that may be more hazardous. It is important for AgrAbility professionals to assess the possibility of secondary injury on assistive technology (AT), to prevent or minimize further injuries.

National AgrAbility Staff

Tour of Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital

Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital is a freestanding facility dedicated exclusively to physical rehabilitation. The Hospital serves patients of all ages from infants to geriatrics and treats a variety of disabilities. The Hospital has inpatient, outpatient, home health, and adult day care programs. Specialty programs address spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, and other neurological and orthopedic conditions.

The tour will consist of visiting all programs, inpatient and outpatient, including the therapeutic garden. Other points of discussion will include the technology involved in the rehab process and the research that is being done at Cardinal Hill. The tour will begin with a short historical overview, a discussion about current trends in rehabilitation, and an explanation of the connection between Agrability and Cardinal Hill.Tour participants will meet in the hotel lobby at 12:45 p.m. to board the bus. Lunch will not be provided.


Tuesday, April 1

Activity Lead Presenter(s) and Presentation(s)

Opening Session

Welcomes from:

  • Dr. Bill Field, National AgrAbility Project
  • Linda Bokros, Kentucky AgrAbility Project
  • Dr. Gary Palmer, Assistant Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources - Cooperative Extension Service
  • Dr. Nancy Cox, Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
  • Dr. Teferi Tsegaye, Dean of the Kentucky State University College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems
  • Ben Shaffer, Kentucky Department of Agriculture Marketing and Agribusiness Recruitment

Updates from the National AgrAbility Project

Featured speaker: Aida Balsano, USDA/NIFA

Conference Instructions


Project Director (PI) Session

USDA program leaders will meet with SRAP principal investigators for questions, answers, and discussion.

Aida Balsano, USDA/NIFA

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Ohio AgrAbility Design Solutions Developed in a First-Year Engineering Course

For four years (eight academic semesters), the Ohio AgrAbility Program and the University of Dayton Engineering Innovation course (EGR 103) have partnered to provide students with an open-ended engineering design project related to the mission of AgrAbility. This partnership allowed students to identify and solve a variety of problems within agricultural systems, and yielded creative, practical design solutions and prototypes. The partnership and prototypes were shown and demonstrated for farmers at key agricultural workshops/events and highlighted in a ThinkTV® video on agricultural engineering sponsored by the Dayton, Ohio STEM Center. This presentation highlights the partnership and the quality, novel, and affordable ($50 or less) design solutions generated by first-year students in the course. Examples include an adaptive crutch tool, ergonomic shovel, watering device for persons with cognitive limitations, compression garments and gloves for arthritis sufferers, safety harness for grain silos, and various assistive devices for farmers in wheelchairs. These design solutions address a host of prevention, safety, and assistive needs.

Kenya Crosson,
University of Dayton

Dee Jepsen,
Ohio AgrAbility

John Zeller,
Ohio AgrAbility

Assistive Viewing Technology to Improve Agricultural Safety

This session will discuss research focused on the application of current technology associated with assistive viewing, enhancing rear view though the minimization of “blind-spots,” for operators with and without physical impairments, and the application of visual monitoring to other high risk agricultural locations.

Shawn Ehlers,
Purdue University

Is More Better? Technology and Brain Injury

When we think about using technology to help an individual return to farming, we may think about lifts, ladder extensions, and other appropriate assistive devices. However if the client is a person with a brain injury, other kinds of technology such as iPads or similar devices can offer many opportunities. Important inter-related factors to consider when selecting technology devices are the tech-savviness of the brain injury survivor, stage of recovery and learning style of the brain injury survivor, and the selection of apps. This session is presented by a farmer who is a recovering brain injury survivor and intended for both professionals and consumers.


Chris Allen,
Rancher and Missouri AgrAbility Client

Sherry Nelson,
University of Missouri Extension

Karen Funkenbusch,
Missouri AgrAbility

Modern Beekeeping

Learn about the history of the honey bee, how to raise bees and produce honey, and manage hives.

Carl Jackson,
Royalty Hives

Tammy Horn,
Author and Beekeeper

Alfred White,
Farmer and Mid-Atlantic AgrAbility Client

Are Sheep or Goats in Your Farming Future?

Explore the feasibility of a sheep or goat enterprise for your farm or ranch operation. Identifying potential markets; species and breed selection; flock/herd size determination; production cycles, best management practices and physical demands of the farmer/rancher will be discussed.

Richard Brzozowski,
Maine AgrAbility

Keynote Speaker: Janet LaBreck, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration  

Unconferencing* Session: How to Help Our Rural Neighbors

Pride and ignorance can become barriers to many people with disabilities. Rural people can often become isolated and simple needs can sadly go unmet. This session will explore low cost and free ideas on how we all can help our rural neighbors with disabilities. We will talk about how to be a good neighbor, recognizing needs and implement low cost (often free) common-sense solutions. Examples include phone trees, neighborhood watches, barter, gifts of service, increasing community awareness etc. Ed Bell Farmer and 30+ year wheelchair user will talk about some of the many ways his neighbors, friends, and rural community have made a difference to his family over the years.

Ed Bell,
National AgrAbility Project

Using Accessible Video to Make Your Case

Time can be your most valuable commodity. It’s essential when considering project activities to identify ones that meet a variety of work scope priorities. Each SRAP has to consider the amount of time spent on outreach, assisting customers, and educating a rural service delivery network. Kansas AgrAbility staff explored the option of collecting footage and editing videos demonstrating farm modification solutions as a tool to meet these demands. The priorities of the short videos were to 1) target footage of devices across a range of needs; 2) collect footage of modifications used by Kansas farmers and ranchers who have used AgrAbility services; 3) have the customer talk through use of the modification or talk about how its use changed their work role; and 4) provide an accessible format for all audiences. Participants will learn about what variables influenced development of the videos, unexpected problems that could be avoided in the future, how staff used the videos to meet project demands, and reported impact of the videos on audiences.

Sheila Simmons,
Kansas AgrAbility

The Use of Custom Seating to Accommodate Severe Back Impairment on the Farm

This session will use a case study to learn about the provision of custom seating to accommodate farmers with back impairments on the farm. The case study will look at the evaluation and identification of the farmer’s needs for assistive technology and the assistive technology purchased for the farmer. In addition, there will be a demonstration of the process used to make the custom seat by the vendor of the seat. This will allow participants to have a deeper understanding of how the seating works and how it can be applied in the field.

Maryfrances Gross,
University of Kentucky Human Development Institute

John Hancock,
Kentucky AgrAbility

Kerry Marschand,
United Seating and Mobility


Onsite Farmstead Medication Assessments to Prevent Injury and Improve Safe Medication Use

This session will inform the audience about the increased risk of falls and secondary injury while working on the farm/ranch and taking medicine. It will describe the impact of medication-related agricultural injuries and identify ways to improve safety and decrease these risks. Examples of resources, partnerships, and processes will be described to equip the audience with mechanisms to connect farmers and ranchers to healthcare resources.

Kelly Cochran,
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy

Karen Funkenbusch,
Missouri AgrAbility

The Changing Landscapes of Spousal Relationships Post Brain Injury

Brain Injury survivors present unique changes in their recovery process post injury. There are many impacts and changes as well for the people who surround them but especially for a spouse. Recovery for a brain injury is a life-long and ongoing process presenting a continuing landscape of changes for the relationship. Aspects of the changes will be discussed along with the importance of the spousal relationship in the BI survivor’s recovery. Resources on how to help these caregivers will be offered.

Sherry Nelson,
University of Missouri Extension

Agritourism: Accessibility and Profitability

Agritourism has become a growing enterprise on many farms. Agritourism includes CSA’s, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, farm markets, and many other enterprises. But is it right for you? This session will provide an overview of agritourism from selecting an enterprise to safety, accessibility and liability concerns. Additional resources will be provided so an informed decision can be made.

Steve Swain,
National AgrAbility

Aquaculture and Aquaponics: Methods, Species, and Potential

This presentation will cover the basic methods of aquaculture and aquaponics and the speices grown in Kentucky. This will include information on how to get started, what resources are available and what the options are in Kentucky for on farm open water systems, enclosed recirculating systems, and urban aquaponics systems.

Angela Caporelli,
Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Unconferencing* Session: Funding Resources for Assistive Technology

This session will encourage a discussion among states about various funding resources for assistive technology. We’ll talk about alternative financing programs, vocational rehabilitation, farm service programs, disability specific grants, and strategies for successful funding.

Susan Tachau,
Pennsylvania AgrAbility

Adaptive Recreation for Folks with Disabilities

This presentation will address the importance of recreation for a person’s quality of life, what types of activities are available and the adaptive equipment needed to participate. Attendees will participate in a hands-on experience with the equipment.

Cindy Jacobelli,
Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital

Managing Arthritis When Working in Cold Weather

The cold of winter is the time of year that many farmers and ranchers with arthritis dread. A three month vacation to a warmer climate is not an option for a working agriculturalist. Preventing cold weather arthritis can be challenging. Using heavy tools, feeding livestock, driving machinery, climbing and mobility all become even more hazardous with the change in the weather. However, by using the suggestions discussed in this session, outdoor work in the cold can be done safely while managing arthritis pain.

Randy Weigel,
Wyoming AgrAbility

Amber Wolfe,
Arthritis Foundation - Heartland Region

Living With and Accommodating a Hand Injury: A Personal Experience

About 10 years ago, the presenter experienced a significant hand injury while working with his sawmill. This resulted in a reduction of hand function and significantly affected his work and personal life. As a person whose career is working with people with disabilities, Paul's perspective on living and working with a disability changed significantly during the process of accommodation and recovery. The purpose of this presentation will be to share his personal experience of injury, recovery, and accommodation, with a focus on lessons learned as an individual with a disability a family member and a service provider which all offer a unique perspective.

Paul Leverenz,
AgrAbility of Wisconsin

Farm to Market - How to Plan and Market Products for the Consumer

This session will discuss how to choose products for your farm and then will show how to market these products and bring additional value to your farmer and income.

Gregg Rentfrow,
University of Kentucky

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Grants and the Beginning Farmer Program

On-Farm Research Grants are one of seven grant opportunities offered by Southern SARE to promote sustainable agriculture practices across the Southern region. On-Farm Research Grants are specifically for Extension agents, Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel, university researchers and non-governmental organizations that conduct on-farm research with one or more farmer/rancher collaborators. Research results are designed to help the farmers they work with find solutions to various agricultural production issues. The KyFarmStart website is designed as an online learning tool to provide beginning farmers with a variety of resources including access to publications and links, as well as learning lessons designed specifically for beginning farmers.

Lee Meyer,
University of Kentucky

Wednesday, April 2

Activity Lead Presenter(s) and Presentation(s)

Unconferencing* Session: Networking

Networking is often identified as a necessity in the success of an AgrAbility Project. The unconferencing concept identifies the knowledge of participants as a great resource for learning from one another. Utilizing the unconferencing approach, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes will facilitate discussions that assist project participants, supporters and farmers in improving AgrAbility networks and relationships, allowing us to reach more potential clients, supporters and potential funders.

JoBeth Rath,
Goodwill of the Finger Lakes

Unconferencing* Session: Marketing

This unconferencing session will focus on a discussion of the AgrAbility Marketing Plan and how it can be used to enchance AgrAbility's marketing capabilities and reinforce the AgrAbility brand across the country.

Kylie Hendress,
National AgrAbility

Project CARAT: Reusing Assistive Technology

This session will describe Project CARAT, which is a HRSA funded collaborative project with the goal of improving the health and quality of life of individuals with disabilities in the Appalachian region of Kentucky through the provision and redistribution of assistive technology and durable medical equipment (AT/DME). Participants will learn how the project operates, including: the development of a network to identify and collect used equipment, the sanitizing and refurbishing of the used equipment and the redistribution of the equipment to individuals who would not otherwise be able to obtain this equipment. Particular emphasis will be placed on the use of student learning projects to perform much of the sanitizing and refurbishing. This has a two-fold effect: a) students, many in health care fields, learn about AT/DME and are able to better serve their patients by making recommendations for equipment and b) by having a comfort level with evaluating and repairing equipment and equipment is able to be sanitized and refurbished for minimal fees, increasing the likelihood of sustainability of the project. This project provides a viable model for the reuse of AT/DME to support the needs of individuals with disabilities in rural communities. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the impact of Project CARAT in the Appalachian community.

Walt Bower,
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Ryan Creech,
University of Kentucky Human Development Institute

Dr. Patrick Kitzman,
University of Kentucky Physical Therapy Department

Carol Weber,
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

AgrAbility AT in a Box for Farmers and Ranchers

Participants will learn about health conditions, disabilities, and age related changes experienced by individuals working in rural occupations addressed by the AgrAbility Program in Missouri. Rural agricultural communities have a large population of farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers that face potential income loss if they are not able to work due to a physical change from an illness, accident or general age-related change. This session will provide examples of how AgrAbility works with these populations. Techniques used to assist individuals perform ther essential job functions will be discussed. The session will also review how the combination of an Ergonomic Onsite Assessment and AT in a Box helps rural workers perform a task they thought otherwise not possible. The session will conclude with a resource list for conference attendees to revisit after the conference.

Karen Funkenbusch,
Missouri AgrAbility

Willard Downs,
Missouri AgrAbility

Aging and Farmers: Understanding "Normal" and Adapting to Changes

This session is designed to assist in understanding the interface between normal aging and farm work. It is based on extensive research for over 20 years with farmers across the U.S. It includes strategies devised to maximize safe and satisfying farm work for farmers with and without disabilities. This presentation has received national attention and will be available after the conference for anyone wanting to use it.

Deborah Reed,
University of Kentucky College of Nursing

Unconferencing* Session: Overcoming Invisibility as a Caregiver: Reclaiming My Identity

Caregivers often lose sight of their identity as they assist a significant other in recovery and stabilization. This is particularly true as a spouse of a person who has survived a brain injury. Feelings of anger, fear, frustration, being trapped, I’m glad they are still alive - or am I, confusion, etc. are all within the range of the caregivers repertoire. Learning how to care for ourselves and regain/create our own identity will be discussed in this session.

Sherry Nelson,
University of Missouri Extension

Agricultural Assistive Technology Training (NIDRR Grant)

A grant from the US department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) provided funding for the Agricultural Assistive Technology Training project. The goal of this project was to increase vocational rehabilitation (VR) specialist’s competency and preparedness to assist farmers with disabilities and to continue to farm after a disabling accident or illness. This three year effort was to train state vocational rehabilitation agencies across the country to improve employment outcomes for farmers and agriculture workers with disabilities. The purpose of this session is to inform state AgrAbility programs about outcomes of the project and lessons learned during the process that can be applied to strengthening services with VR programs in AgrAbility states.

Paul Leverenz,
AgrAbility of Wisconsin

Innovative Collaborations to Meet the Needs of Individuals with Disabilities in Rural Communities

The Kentucky Rural Rehabilitation Network is a collaborative group of people with neurological conditions (e.g. spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury), healthcare providers who work with them, educators, researchers, and community partners focused on issues related to long-term healthcare and community participation for persons with neurological conditions living in rural communities. The Kentucky AgrAbility program has been a founding member of KARRN and an active partner since KARRN's inception in 2009.

Patrick Kitzman,
University of Kentucky

Unconferencing* Session: Women in Agriculture

Women farmers are the focus of this unconferencing session. We will discuss the unique issues and opportunities for women farmers. According to the USDA (April 2013) the share of women farmers in the U.S. has nearly tripled over the past 30 years. The goal of this session is to enhance the ability of AgrAbility service providers to help women farmers succeed in establishing and/or operating a farm business. We will discuss the unique issues, opportunities and needs of women in agriculture such as physical constraints, economic factors and pressures, social factors and family dynamics. Based on this we can develop action items to incorporate new knowledge into our work with women farmers.

Lani Carlson,
Maine AgrAbility

Empowering Farmers with Disabilities to Manage their Own Personal Assistance - At Home and On the Farm

Needing personal assistance, whether it be with personal care or farm tasks, can be a barrier for continuing or returning to farming. Through this presentation, participants will learn about identifying specific needs and how to go about pairing resources to meet these needs. Participants will learn about community-based personal assistance services as well as how to self-hire for additional personal care or farm tasks.

Ketra Crosson,
Maine AgrAbility

Wanda Caron,
Maine AgrAbility

Tom Gillis,
Maine AgrAbility

Assistive Technology Solutions: A New Paradigm for the Development and Dissemination of Assistive Technology

The United Nations estimates more than 10% of the world’s population is disabled. Assistive technology (AT) enables people with disabilities to lead more independent lives and increases their quality of life. Unfortunately, availability of AT is limited for a number of reasons. First conceived in 1988, this project, called “ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS”, is designed to establish a unique and innovative AT transfer mechanism to make new or unique products and technologies available to people with disabilities throughout the world, and to do so without commercialization of the products. The project involves acquisition and dissemination, through the Internet, of engineering information necessary to duplicate and fabricate AT devices. Armed with sufficient engineering information almost any kind of AT device can be fabricated with appropriate local resources thus increasing the availability of assistive technology devices and fostering local enterprise in providing these devices.

Jerry Weisman,
Assistive Technology Solutions

Caring for Caregivers

While AgrAbility Projects are focused on the farmer / producer and their needs, behind each individual we work with who has sustained injury, is facing illness, or suffering from a degenerative condition, is a caregiver. Caregivers are often absorbing additional duties in addition to providing direct care to their loved one or family member, placing an increased burden on them physically and emotionally.

Most caregivers in these situations have no formal training for the responsibilities they face, and often feel anxious, angry, guilty or sad. This session will focus on accepting the emotions caregivers experience and finding resources for support, and assistance.

Most importantly, caregivers need to take care of themselves. Tools for caregivers to address their needs so that they can continue to be caregivers will be discussed and identified.

This session is perfect for caregivers, as well as AgrAbility staff who often work with the caregivers.

JoBeth Rath,
Goodwill of the Finger Lakes

Tess McKeel,
Goodwill of the Finger Lakes

Kathy Smith,
Life Essentials

International Panel

Guests from England/Ireland, Sweden, and Brazil will share how farmers with disabilities are being served in their respective countries. Specific case studies will be presented and overviews of how rehabilitation services are provided will be addressed. This session will be especially interesting to folks who are interested in an international dimension of rehabilitation programs for rural and farm populations.

Moderated by Bill Field,
National AgrAbility Project

Working with Your 1890 Institution

This year's National Training Workshop will have the largest contingent ever of faculty and staff from the 1890 Land Grant Institutions. An overview of the mission and services of these institutions will be provided along with an open discussion of how enhanced collaborations can be achieved between AgrAbility and the clientele being served by these institutions.

Moderated by Chuck Baldwin,
National AgrAbility Project

Identifying and Supporting the Safe Operation of Farm Equipment: A Team ApproaFch

This session will examine the need for an effective evaluation tool/protocol for determining the adaptive equipment necessary to allow an individual with a disability to operate equipment on the farm safely and effectively. Participants will study the differences between operating a motor vehicle on the road and on the farm and identify areas of additional evaluation that may be necessary. Participants will participate in a group discussion about the current best practices and who should be involved on the team making the determination of equipment to be used.

Carol Weber,
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Maryfrances Gross,
University of Kentucky Human Development Institute

John Hancock,
Kentucky AgrAbility

Proud to be a Farmer's Daughter - No Matter the Limitations They Face

The impact of a disability to a major player on a family farm truly can be challenging. This session will highlight the impact of disabilities for the farm family of AgrAbility of Wisconsin’s Outreach Specialist. Information will be presented from a personal perspective to convey an appreciation for the farm families as well as the challenges these present for a family adjusting to disabilities. The purpose of this session is to inform state AgrAbility programs about lessons learned during this process and how they can be applied to strengthening services with clients as well as enhancing outreach and marketing efforts.

Vicki Janisch,
AgrAbility of Wisconsin

Assistive Technology Show and Tell

This session will be a show-and-tell with various suppliers of assistive technologies applicable to farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

Moderated by Steve Swain,
National AgrAbility Project

Back Pain Management

Participants will be instructed on basic spine anatomy. Common causes of back pain as related to anatomy will also be discussed. Certain conditions suffering from back pain will be addressed to include osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease, among others. Next, proper posture and body mechanics used to prevent back pain will be covered. Within this topic, the special interest requested of  injury prevention for caregivers will be addressed. Finally, the McKenzie method for mechanical diagnosis and treatment will be described as an option for back care.

Lisa Harris,
Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital

Unconferencing* Session: Working Effectively with Veterans - Let's Work Together

Working effectively with veterans can be challenging. This session will use the experiences of participants to develop a checklist to find and reach veterans as well as a checklist of the best methods that AgrAbility can use to assist veterans. Be a part of this exploratory and idea sharing session.

Richard Brzozowski,
Maine AgrAbility

Healing Gardens: Gardening and Veterans

The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky has initiated a horticulture therapy program in partnership with other local educational and community partners. Currently, there are three programs, the first is to provide veterans that live independently in Jefferson County the opportunity to have and maintain a garden space of their own. Second, working in cooperation with Veterans Administration Mental Health-Intensive Case Managemenrt, a suitable garden environment has been established for veterans that cannot manage a garden individually. The third garden program is at Fort Knox. Topics that will be discussed include both the physical and psychological challenges that should be considered (and solutions to them) when working with specific populations.

Darold Akridge,
University of Kentucky

Carol Ann Faulkner,
Kentucky State University

What Can We Learn from Our 493 New Clients with McGill QOL Pre-Survey Data?

The National AgrAbility Project’s Evaluation Committee will present the latest results of this six-year program evaluation study with findings from 493 pre-surveys from 11 states (AR, CO, KS, ME, NC, NE, OK, TX, VA, WV, and WI) on Quality of Life and Independent Living and Working levels. We will present our latest findings from pre-survey data on differences between men and women and differences between young adults, middle adults, and older adults on the Quality of Life and Independent Living and Working levels as new clients when they say “Yes” to AgrAbility. We will also report differences by the ten most frequently reported disabilities. We will discuss who our clients are, who come with the highest and lowest Quality of Life and Independent Living and Working levels, and what we can do to serve them better.

Bob Fetsch,
Colorado AgrAbility

What Are CILs and What Do They Have to Do with AgrAbility?

This session will discuss the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) across the United States and the mission of the CILs, plus specifics of how they assist individuals, families, and business ventures in rural America. Specific collaborative efforts, both current and ongoing will be addressed. Plenty of time for interaction, and questions.

John Johnson,
Options CIL

An Introduction to Driver Rehabilitation

In AgrAbility we are often called to evaluate a farmer’s needs for assistive technology to allow him or her to operate equipment on the farm. At the same time, that farmer may also require assistance with driving on the road. This session will provide an introduction to the driver rehabilitation process that effectively returns individuals with disabilities to independent driving. We will examine the assessment of the individual’s physical and cognitive skills required for driving. The participant will also learn about a wide variety of driving equipment that is available to aid individuals with disabilities in the driving task. Case study examples will be used to show innovative use of driving technology.

Clinton Matney,
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Katy Greene,
University of Kentucky

Introduction to Holistic Management

Holistic Management offers a set of management tools that work particularly well for farmers and ranchers. This presentation is an introduction to the principles and practices that define the concept.

Ellen Gibson,
Maine AgrAbility

Working with the Farmer Veteran Coalition

Michael O’Gorman is the founder and executive director of Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). Their mission is to connect veterans to the agriculture industry, not just to create sustainable American production, but by fulfilling lives. Many of the veterans FVC works with carry with them visible and invisible wounds.

Michael O'Gorman,
Farmer Veteran Coalition

Using Accessible Video to Make Your Case

Time can be your most valuable commodity. It’s essential when considering project activities to identify ones that meet a variety of work scope priorities. Each SRAP has to consider the amount of time spent on outreach, assisting customers, and educating a rural service delivery network. Kansas AgrAbility staff explored the option of collecting footage and editing videos demonstrating farm modification solutions as a tool to meet these demands. The priorities of the short videos were to 1) target footage of devices across a range of needs; 2) collect footage of modifications used by Kansas farmers and ranchers who have used AgrAbility services; 3) have the customer talk through use of the modification or talk about how its use changed their work role; and 4) provide an accessible format for all audiences. Participants will learn about what variables influenced development of the videos, unexpected problems that could be avoided in the future, how staff used the videos to meet project demands, and reported impact of the videos on audiences.

Sheila Simmons,
Kansas AgrAbility

Cocktail Hour
Meet and Greet and Book-Signing with Josh Bleill

Bleill is a disabled war veteran who wrote, "One Step at a Time: A Young Marine's Story of Courage, Hope, and a New Life in the NFL," a book that follows his journey from enlistment to active duty, through rehab, and to his current job with the Colts.

Josh Bleill,
Community Spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts

Keynote Speaker: Josh Bleill, Community Spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts

The State Showcase Auction featuring products from several different states will follow the dinner. Silent Auction winners will be announced prior to the start of the live auction. All funds raised from the auction will support farmer scholarships for 2015.


* The Unconference Principle says that at a typical conference, the sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people up front. Unconferencing is a way to tap everyone’s expertise so that each person receives the maximum benefit. Sometimes the best information exchange at conferences occurs in the hallway or during meal conversations. Think of the Unconference as a way to bring those conversations into the meeting room.


Last updated: 11-Oct-2013 2:12 PM