Five things you MISSED if you missed Ag Progress Days this year

AgrAbility PA took part in Penn State’s 2017 Ag Progress Days in August at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center near University Park. It was one for the record books with pleasant weather, thousands of people in attendance, and excellent representation from agricultural vendors, organizations, and more!

Ag Progress Days is Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition! AgrAbility PA teamed up with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to host activities in the Rural Health and Safety tent near the Farm Safety Demonstration Area.

So, if you missed it, you MISSED SEEING A LOT! But no worries, the event will be back next year. SAVE THE DATE: August 14 – 16, 2018

We won’t make you wait that long to see what AgrAbility PA had to offer at the event. 🙂

Five things you missed at Ag Progress Days this year…

  1. Free Chips — Yes, that’s right. Thanks to Middleswarth Potato ChipsMiddleswarth logo for sponsoring our Snack and Chat for current and potential AgrAbility clients. If you don’t know about this amazing brand of chips that hails from Middleburg, Pa., you MUST order a bag! The Weekender (10oz.) in bar-b-q is a good place to start!
  2. Ergonomic Tools – Our booth exhibited a number of tools and assistive technology that can make any type of work around a farm or garden more enjoyable and provide some comfort or easement. The most popular item, Gripeeze gloves, were tried on by many – kids and adults! Also featured: a padded 2-in-1 gardening stool, Robo handles for lawn tools, one-hand nail-starting hammers, a pair of pliers with a magnifier and more. A digital picture frame also featured larger pieces of assistive technology: UTVs, grain bins, milking parlor takeoffs and rail systems, truck and tractor lifts, and more.


  3. Strong Arm Lift – AgrAbility PA featured this product in a recent e-newsletter and we were thrilled to see this product in action in person. Watch the VIDEO on our Facebook page! This company is based on a Pennsylvania farm and makes a device that is designed to bolt onto a utility vehicle and assist with loading heavy objects – think rocks, boulders, feed bags, large bins, and other weighted items. Multiple attachments enable you to perform a variety of other tasks.This could greatly assist any farmer, and especially those who experience trouble lifting and hauling heavy, cumbersome objects. More on Strong Arm Lift’s website.1st Choice(1).jpg
  4. Mr. Lifty – One of the most asked about items at our booth: What does this do? It’s great for kids (and their parents are watching, too) to learn how to lift properly as to lessen the strain on your back and other joints. Place the heavy item between your feet, bend at the knees, and lift with your legs is the key message from this demonstration. Part of AgrAbility’s message is prevention – being safe to prevent injuries. Our staff meets many farmers across the state that suffer from back injuries and joint impairments. It is one of the more frequent disabilities or health conditions among the agricultural community.
  5. One Word: Us! – If you missed Ag Progress Days this year, that means WE didn’t get a chance to talk with YOU to learn more about what you do…and most important how we can work with YOU! Our staff is committed to assisting farmers by linking them to potential resources and providing support to farmers with a disability or long-term health condition. Several staff members were present throughout the three days to talk with farmers: Abbie Spackman, project assistant; Dwight Heller, occupational therapist; Linda Fetzer, project associate; Dr. Connie Baggett, project director; and Kendra Martin, outreach coordinator.

    Abbie Spackman, project assistant, with PA OVR Staff Member Jim Casey and Dwight Heller, occupational therapist

    GOOD NEWS!! You can contact us anytime at (814) 867-5288 OR to find out more about what we can do and how we can help.

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.


PSU’s 2017 Ag Progress Days: Aug 15-17

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians will participate in Penn State’s 2017 Ag Progress Days, which takes place on Tuesday, August 15 through Thursday, August 17 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 & Safety Tent located at the end of West 6th St., next to the Farm Safety Demonstration Area.

IMG_1068Staff 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 see examples of adaptive equipment, assistive technologies, and other modifications that make working around the farm more accessible.

Visitors to the Rural Health & 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 3 p.m.
  • Resources about dental hygiene
Additional information will be provided by Centre HomeCare, New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Mount Nittany Health, North Central Sight Services, and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health.



Concerned about mobility around the show grounds? Individuals with medical conditions or disabilities are welcome (and encouraged) to bring their own mobility aid devices — Ventracs, utility vehicles, power wheelchairs, and so forth.

Golf carts (courtesy of Lancaster Farming) will be available on a first come, first serve basis for TWO HOUR increments to individuals who need them for mobility. You can find this service located in the Ag Pavilion near Headquarters (the white house).

T&B Medical has a limited supply of scooter rentals available onsite. Pre-reservations are recommended. Contact: 888-950-0900 or 814-466-8736.

Accessible parking spaces are available for individuals displaying handicap permits. All parking is free.

Still have questions? Please contact Abbie Spackman (AgrAbility PA Project Assistant) at 814-867-5288 or



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. 15; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 17. 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 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 Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays and Facebook users can find the event here.