AgrAbility PA had a busy and productive year in 2016! It was filled with meeting new clients, farm assessments, outreach events, and more. The staff, which is comprised of members from Penn State University and UCP Central PA, traveled and networked throughout the state spreading the word about how AgrAbility can assist farmers and other agricultural workers with a disability or long-term health condition.
The services, resources, and support provided by AgrAbility PA have helped many farmers and agricultural workers to live independently and to continue working in production agriculture. AgrAbility PA is fortunate to have strong partnerships 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 modifications.
Here are some highlights from 2016:
- Staff met with hundreds of farmers and agricultural workers throughout the state over the last year, meeting one on one with more than two dozen people to provide farm assessments and individualized reports on recommendations.
- Most often, an all-purpose utility vehicle or some type of mobility device is recommended to help a farmer around their farm, but replacing old, unsafe tractor steps with new ones is second. Assistive technology is any item that is used to improve the functional capabilities for someone with a disability or long-term health condition. There are a host of options to consider on the farm!
- A contest was launched for Pennsylvania FFA chapter members to get involved with AgrAbility PA on a project level. Deadline for submissions is March 21, 2017. Details are available at: bridginghorizonspa.org
- Penn State’s Ag Progress Days in August proved once again to be a valuable event to attend and interact with those who could benefit from AgrAbility PA’s services.
- The National AgrAbility Project celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. September 19, 2016 was National AgrAbility Day.
- Pennsylvania legislators, supporters, and advocates gathered at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg in October to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
- AgrAbility PA gained fans and followers on social media! Follow or like AgrAbility PA to stay up to date on project news, photos, events, and more – comments and shares are welcome! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- The AgrAbility PA Advisory Board continues to be an important piece to our success throughout the year. Thank you members for your time and commitment!
- Field Notes is the AgrAbility PA newsletter. It is published in print (twice a year) and electronic (monthly) versions. Join the mailing list by sending your email and mailing address to: AgrAbility@psu.edu.
The AgrAbility PA team is looking forward to an exciting year ahead in 2017. The New Year not only marks the fourth and final year in our current grant cycle, but it will bring the opportunity to focus on new challenges and opportunities, such as connecting with underserved populations and enhancing the overall impact that AgrAbility can have on the agricultural community.