National AgrAbility Project compiles 25 stories in honor of 25th anniversary

As the National AgrAbility Project celebrates its 25-year anniversary during 2016, a booklet has been developed highlighting 25 of the thousands of stories that illustrate how AgrAbility has impacted the lives of people all around the nation, and even those in other countries.

AgrAbility 25 Years, 25 Stories: 1991 – 2016 features individuals and families, farmers and agricultural workers, and small farming businesses that have been positively impacted by working with an AgrAbility project in their state.

From Pennsylvania,the Lehman brothers were featured. Tim and Colby are dairymen on their family farm in Chamberburg, Pennsylvania. Their work is physically demanding, requiring long hours in the milking parlor multiple times a day in addition to barn cleaning and a variety of outdoor tasks. Added to their challenges are their smaller sizes: 48” and 46” respectively, due to Dyggve-Melchoir-Clausen (DMC) syndrome, a rare genetic bone disorder.

Tim unit in actionSince their parlor is pit-type (where workers stand several feet below the cows), the Lehmans had to repeatedly climb on and off stools to attach and detach milking units.  This caused concern about safety and long-term joint complications related to DMC.

To assist, AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians worked with state Vocational Rehabilitation to engage Life Essentials, an assistive technology company, which custom-made powered trolleys mounted to rails that were installed on both sides of the parlor. Now the Lehmans can glide the length of the parlor at cow-level height without repeatedly mounting and dismounting stools.  Also acquired were automatic take-offs for the milking units and power-operated steps to enter and exit the milking parlor.

“We are so grateful to AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians’ involvement in helping us identify equipment and modifications that make a huge difference for the boys,” said their mother Tina Lehman. Their father Lester added, “We wanted to provide a career opportunity for them so that as they mature, they will have a place to use their time and talents. We feel truly blessed to have this farm, and blessed to watch our sons become men.”

Learn more about “25 Years, 25 Stories” on the National AgrAbility website.

For more information, visit the AgrAbility PA website or follow AgrAbility PA on social media: Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or on our WordPress blog. Contact AgrAbility PA at AgrAbility@psu.edu or (814) 867-5288 for more details.

AgrAbility PA attends PSU’s Annual Ag Progress Days in August

Ag Progress Days

View of West Side of Ag Progress Days. Source: Ag Progress Days Flickr Account

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians took part in Penn State’s 2016 Ag Progress Days in August at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rocks Spring. Ag Progress Days is Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition and is sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Thousands of people attend the annual event every August.

IMG_1077AgrAbility PA teamed up with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to host activities in the Rural Health and Safety tent located at the end of West 6th St., next to the Farm Safety Demonstration Area.

Staff members from AgrAbility PA were present to share information and resources with farmers and agricultural workers on how to remain in farming despite a disability or long-term health condition. Visitors to the AgrAbility PA booth had a chance to talk about and see examples of equipment, assistive technologies, and modifications that can make work and life around the farm more accessible.

THDlogoAgrAbility PA also offered drinks (donated by Turkey Hill Dairy, Lancaster County) and snacks to AgrAbility clients that stopped by the booth to chat and visit.

Hundreds of visitors to the Rural Health and Safety tent also took advantage of free daily health screenings from fellow organizations, including vision tests, blood pressure readings, personal protection demonstrations, and more. These organizations included Centre HomeCare, Mount Nittany Medical Center, New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, North Central Sight Services, and Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find information about the event by searching the hashtag #agprogressdays and Facebook users can find the event here.

About AgrAbility PA

IMG_1074AgrAbility PA is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Since initial funding in 1991, NIFA has awarded AgrAbility grants to more than 35 states resulting in on-farm assistance to more than 12,000 farmers, while educating thousands of professionals on how to accommodate those with disabilities in agriculture.

AgrAbility PA assists farmers and other agricultural workers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with disabilities or long-term health conditions by providing the resources and support they need to live independently and to continue working in or return to production agriculture. AgrAbility PA has been providing information and direct services to farmers and farm family members affected by disability or long term health condition since 1995. Some of the more common disabilities or health conditions that Pennsylvania farmers may have include: arthritis, spinal cord injury, amputation, traumatic brain injury, stroke, diabetes, visual or hearing loss, respiratory problems, and back impairment or joint injuries.

AgrAbility PA staff provides a variety of services, at no cost, for farmers and farm families:

  • On-site farm assessment to identify barriers to completing essential everyday tasks and chores, both in the agricultural workplace and the home.
  • Identification of safe and appropriate assistive technologies (equipment/devices and efficient modified work practices).
  • Referral to information resource materials on a variety of topics related to agriculture and disability.
  • Access to face-to-face educational training opportunities through workshops, conferences, and seminars as well as online blogs and programs.
  • Referral to other service providers for potential assistance (e.g., funding resources, occupational or physical therapy assessments) specific to the farmer’s or farm family’s needs.
  • Provide peer support opportunities to connect farmers to one another.

AgrAbility PA does not provide direct funding, however, the staff works with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT), and other third-party funding sources to help farmers and farm families obtain needed equipment, assistive technologies, and/or modifications.

For more information, visit the AgrAbility PA website or follow AgrAbility PA on social media: Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or on our WordPress blog. Contact AgrAbility PA at AgrAbility@psu.edu or (814) 867-5288 for more details.

About Ag Progress Days

Ag Progress Days features the latest technology and research exhibits, educational programs, and guided tours. Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, it is one of only three agricultural exhibitions in the country sponsored by a major university. Exhibits showcase the latest in Penn State research, as well as information on best management practices and changing regulations in the agricultural industry.

With close to 500 exhibitors from 34 states and 4 provinces of Canada, there is something for everyone. Each year, farming families from across Pennsylvania and surrounding states attend this three-day event. Of the 45,000 expected attendees, over 60 percent are actively engaged in agriculture or related professions. Ag Progress Days features more than 80 acres for crops and machinery demonstrations, and 55 acres for indoor and outdoor exhibits.

AgrAbility PA to participate in PSU’s Ag Progress Days: Aug 16-18, 2016

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians will participate in Penn State’s 2016 Ag Progress Days, which takes place on Tuesday, August 16 through Thursday, August 18 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rocks Spring. Ag Progress Days is Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition.

AgrAbility PA is teaming up with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to host activities in the Rural Health and Safety tent located at the end of West 6th St., next to the Farm Safety Demonstration Area.

AgrAbility booth Feb 2016Staff members from AgrAbility PA will be present to share information and resources with farmers and agricultural workers on how to remain in farming despite a disability or long-term health condition. Visitors to the AgrAbility PA booth will also be able to sign-up for drawings to win prizes and view examples of equipment, assistive technologies, and modifications that make working around the farm more accessible.

Visitors to the Rural Health and Safety tent may also take advantage of free daily health screenings that will be provided:

  • Vision tests from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Blood pressure readings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Personal protection equipment presentations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
    (Earn one core pesticide credit by attending a 30-minute presentation)
  • Stroke risk assessments from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Resources about dental hygiene

Additional information will be provided by Centre HomeCare, Mount Nittany Medical Center, New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, North Central Sight Services, and Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health.

Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 16; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18. Admission and parking are free.

Ag Progress Days

View of West Side of Ag Progress Days with the Rural Health & Safety Tent in the background. Source: Ag Progress Days Flickr Account

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays and Facebook users can find the event here.

About AgrAbility PA

AgrAbility PA is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Since initial funding in 1991, NIFA has awarded AgrAbility grants to more than 35 states resulting in on-farm assistance to more than 12,000 farmers, while educating thousands of professionals on how to accommodate those with disabilities in agriculture.

AgrAbility PA assists farmers and other agricultural workers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with disabilities or long-term health conditions by providing the resources and support they need to live independently and to continue working in or return to production agriculture. AgrAbility PA has been providing information and direct services to farmers and farm family members affected by disability or long term health condition since 1995. Some of the more common disabilities or health conditions that Pennsylvania farmers may have include: arthritis, spinal cord injury, amputation, traumatic brain injury, stroke, diabetes, visual or hearing loss, respiratory problems, and back impairment or joint injuries.

AgrAbility PA staff provides a variety of services, at no cost, for farmers and farm families:

  • On-site farm assessment to identify barriers to completing essential everyday tasks and chores, both in the agricultural workplace and the home.
  • Identification of safe and appropriate assistive technologies (equipment/devices and efficient modified work practices).
  • Referral to information resource materials on a variety of topics related to agriculture and disability.
  • Access to face-to-face educational training opportunities through workshops, conferences, and seminars as well as online blogs and programs.
  • Referral to other service providers for potential assistance (e.g., funding resources, occupational or physical therapy assessments) specific to the farmer’s or farm family’s needs.
  • Provide peer support opportunities to connect farmers to one another.

AgrAbility PA does not provide direct funding, however, the staff works with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT), and other third-party funding sources to help farmers and farm families obtain needed equipment, assistive technologies, and/or modifications.

For more information, visit the AgrAbility PA website or follow AgrAbility PA on social media: Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or on our WordPress blog. Contact AgrAbility PA at AgrAbility@psu.edu or (814) 867-5288 for more details.

About Ag Progress Days

Ag Progress Days features the latest technology and research exhibits, educational programs, and guided tours. Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, it is one of only three agricultural exhibitions in the country sponsored by a major university. Exhibits showcase the latest in Penn State research, as well as information on best management practices and changing regulations in the agricultural industry.

With close to 500 exhibitors from 34 states and 4 provinces of Canada, there is something for everyone. Each year, farming families from across Pennsylvania and surrounding states attend this three-day event. Of the 45,000 expected attendees, over 60 percent are actively engaged in agriculture or related professions. Ag Progress Days features more than 80 acres for crops and machinery demonstrations, and 55 acres for indoor and outdoor exhibits.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at http://apd.psu.edu. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays and Facebook users can find the event here.