AgrAbility PA recognizes winning PA FFA chapters in Bridging Horizons PA Contest

image_leadimageAgrAbility PA recognized three FFA chapters from the mid-state – Cumberland Valley, Central Columbia, and Columbia-Montour A.V.T.S. – as winners in its inaugural Bridging Horizons PA Contest.

The contest provided an opportunity for any Pennsylvania FFA Association chapter to make a positive impact in their community by enhancing independence or promoting success for farmers and their families with disabilities.

Entry categories included three options: completing a service project, developing an assistive technology tabletop demo, or creating a video presentation. The Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters split $400 as they collaborated on a service project. The Cumberland County FFA received $400 for an assistive technology tabletop demo.

Student representatives from each chapter accepted certificates on June 14 during a General Session event at the Bryce Jordan Center as part of Pennsylvania FFA’s 88th State Convention & Activities Week at Penn State. AgrAbility PA Project Director and Penn State Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education Dr. Connie Baggett presented the awards on stage to Nina, Nick, and Kennedy.

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Dr. Connie Baggett with Nina, Nick, and Kennedy at the 88th State Convention & Activities Week.

“We are pleased to recognize these students, in conjunction with their FFA chapter, whom exemplify not only the core principles of the Pennsylvania FFA – Purpose, Passion, and Potential – but also for their leadership to serve their communities at large with their time and talents,” said Dr. Baggett.

Mike Brammer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania FFA, thanked AgrAbility PA for offering the Bridging Horizons PA Contest to FFA chapters as a way to support school-based agricultural education.

 

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Students from the Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters worked collaboratively at the Eos Therapeutic Riding Center in Bloomsburg, Pa. The center provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons for mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged children and adults. The students worked over the course of a year to assist with facility needs, riding equipment needs, and rider needs.

A student with the Cumberland Valley FFA chapter developed a myoelectric prosthetic hand. This assistive technology developed out of an agriscience research project conducted by a student with an interest in robotics and prosthetics. The student started by creating models of hands from drinking straws and emerged into creating a function model out of lumber. The project evolved after a model of a hand was 3-D printed and programmed to operate from an electrical stimulus.

AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by linking them with potential resources and by providing support they need to live independently and continue working in or return to production agriculture.

Information about next year’s Bridging Horizons Contest will be available on September 1, 2017 at http://www.bridginghorizonspa.org.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (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).

Learn more about AgrAbility PA by visiting http://www.AgrAbilityPA.org, calling (814) 867-5288, emailing AgrAbility@psu.edu, or searching @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

 

AgrAbility PA to award prizes to winning PA FFA chapters in Bridging Horizons Contest

image_leadimageAgrAbility PA’s inaugural Bridging Horizons Contest concluded this spring with two winners! The contest provided an opportunity for Pennsylvania FFA Association chapters to make a positive impact in their community by enhancing independence and/or promoting success for farmers with disabilities.

Entry categories included three options: completing a service project, developing an assistive technology tabletop demo, or creating a video presentation. The Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters will split $400 as they collaborated on a service project. The Cumberland Valley FFA will win $400 for an assistive technology tabletop demo.

Awards will be presented during the 88th PA FFA State Convention & Activities Week, which is held at Penn State University from June 13-15, 2017. Students and their FFA chapters will be honored on June 14 at 7 p.m. during a General Session event at the Bryce Jordan Center.

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Performing cleaning, repairing, and reconditioning to saddle and parts.

Students from the Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters worked collaboratively at the Eos Therapeutic Riding Center in Bloomsburg, Pa. The center provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons for mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged children and adults. The students worked over the course of a year to assist with facility needs, riding equipment needs, and rider needs.

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An FFA member works with one of the riding horses to assure the equipment and conditions are safe for the therapeutic riders.

A student with the Cumberland Valley FFA chapter developed a myoelectric prosthetic hand. This assistive technology developed out of an agriscience research project being conducted by a student with an interest in robotics and prosthetics. The student started by creating models of hands from drinking straws and emerged into creating a function model out of lumber. The project evolved after a model of a hand was 3-D printed and programmed to operate from an electrical stimulus.

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Information about next year’s Bridging Horizons Contest will be available on September 1, 2017 at www.bridginghorizonspa.org.

AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by linking them to potential resources and by providing support they need to live independently and continue working in or return to production agriculture.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (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). Learn more about AgrAbility PA by visiting http://www.AgrAbilityPA.org, calling (814) 867-5288, emailing AgrAbility@psu.edu, or searching @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

PSU students raise funds to benefit a young farmer with a disability

Penn State University students in agricultural fraternities, a sorority, and several clubs held a “Penny War” and spaghetti dinner at University Park which raised nearly $1,000 for a farmer with a disability.

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Kyle, a young beef farmer, sustained an injury from a PTO entanglement incident.

A young beef farmer in northern Pennsylvania, named Kyle, sustained an injury from a PTO entanglement incident. Since the incident, he has been working hard to regain his ability to work on the family farm using a prosthetic leg. AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) began working with Kyle to help him safely and productively overcome obstacles he faces on the farm.

Lewis Frame, a member of Delta Theta Sigma, organized the fundraiser to help Kyle purchase assistive technology to use around the farm. Members of Delta Theta Sigma, Alpha Zeta and Sigma Alpha participated in the Penny War competition. The dinner was hosted by Alpha Zeta and was attended by many people from the community. Support also came from the Poultry Science Club and the Collegiate Farm Bureau. AgrAbility PA also received a donation from Collegiate FFA to provide additional assistance to Kyle.

Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities for someone with a disability. For Kyle, assistive technology means many items and types of equipment on the farm. These funds will be put towards the purchase of accessible tractor steps and automatic gates. These devices will reduce the repetitive, strenuous movements on his leg and make it easier for him to move around his farm.

If interested in donating to Kyle or AgrAbility PA in general, contact Project Assistant Abbie Spackman at 814-867-5288 or aes5450@psu.edu. Learn more about the AgrAbility Project by visiting www.AgrAbilityPA.org or search @AgrAbilityPA on social media.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (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).

The AgrAbility PA project is designed to assist farmers and agricultural workers 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 Advisory Board holds annual meeting

The AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians Advisory Board held an annual meeting in State College, Pa., on March 17. The board met to review the project scope, responsibilities, and overall efforts of the grant-based program. The goal of the project is to assist farmers and agricultural workers in overcoming a disability or long-term health condition so that they may continue to work and remain in production agriculture in the state of Pennsylvania. The grant for the project was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

AgrAbility PA (for short) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension, located at Pennsylvania State University, and UCP Central PA, a non-profit organization that works with individuals of all ages with all types of disabilities throughout central Pennsylvania. AgrAbility PA has been providing information and direct services to farmers and family members affected by disabilities or a long-term health condition since 1995.

The Advisory Board consists of experts and specialist from state agencies, organizations, and non-profits throughout Pennsylvania. Examples include PA Office of Rural Health, PA Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Initiative on Assistive Technology, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, PA Department of Agriculture, and PA Area Health Education Center. The board also consists of occupational and physical therapists, agriculturalists, and AgrAbility PA clients.

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The AgrAbility PA Advisory Board

Project highlights presented and discussed included AgrAbility PA outreach at events, efforts in marketing and use of social media, updates on former and current AgrAbility PA clients, overview of the year ahead, and new initiatives. A new initiative was presented called Bridging Horizons– a contest for high school students involved with FFA.

The project has continued to be a critical resource for farmers and agricultural workers in Pennsylvania with a disability or long-term health condition. Most commonly seen health challenges for AgrAbility PA clients include arthritis, back injuries, joint impairments, and mobility constraints. More than 60 percent are a direct result of an incident or the overall physical nature of work on the farm. Many AgrAbility PA clients work on dairy farms, as it is the largest agricultural industry in Pennsylvania, but more and more clients are seeking resources and support from other farming operations. Clients range in age from 18 to late sixties, with the average Pennsylvania farmer being 55 years old. Common equipment accommodations include using utility vehicles, making tractor modifications, and changing feeding practices. The PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, Ag Choice Farm Credit, and the Farm Service Agency largely provide funding for these accommodations.

“This project has undoubtedly made a positive impact and has certainly improved the lives of farmers throughout Pennsylvania for more than 20 years,” said Dr. Connie Baggett, AgrAbility PA Project Director and Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education at Penn State University.

The Advisory Board will continue to provide feedback and recommendations on the project throughout the year. The grant is operational for a four-year period with the option to renew. The current grants runs through September 2017.

For more information about AgrAbility PA, visit www.AgrAbilityPa.org, email AgrAbility@psu.edu, or call (814) 867-5288. Stay in touch with news, events, and information by following AgrAbility PA on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and on Twitter @AgrAbilityPA.

AgrAbility celebrates 25 years of providing assistance to people in agriculture with a disability

The National AgrAbility Project is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year in 2016. Observances and special events will commemorate 25 years of helping people in agriculture overcome their disabilities or long-term health condition. The goal of the project is to assist farmer and agricultural workers so they can continue to work and remain in production agriculture.

First authorized in the 1990 Farm Bill (but with funding appropriations beginning in 1991), the National AgrAbility Project began with eight state projects. The number of projects has since grown to a total of 20 this year. AgrAbility consists of the National AgrAbility Project (NAP) and state/regional AgrAbility projects (SRAPs), such as AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians Project. Each project involves collaboration between a land-grant university and at least one non-profit disability services organization.

The National AgrAbility Project is currently based at Purdue University. All AgrAbility projects report to USDA-National Institute for Agriculture in Washington, D.C. More information is available at www.agrability.org, on Facebook: National AgrAbility Project, and on Twitter: @NatlAgrAbility or #agrability25.

“The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance the quality of life for farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities,” said Paul Jones, manager of the National AgrAbility Project. “Through education and assistance, AgrAbility helps to eliminate – or at least minimize – obstacles that inhibit success in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations.”

The AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians Project (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension, located at Pennsylvania State University in State College, and UCP Central PA, a non-profit organization that works with individuals of all ages with all types of disabilities throughout central Pennsylvania. AgrAbility PA has been providing information and direct services to farmers and family members affected by disabilities or a long-term health condition since 1995.

“This project has undoubtedly made a positive impact and has certainly improved the lives of farmers throughout Pennsylvania for more than 20 years,” said Dr. Connie Baggett, project director for AgrAbility PA and associate professor of agricultural and extension education at Penn State University.

National activities planned during the anniversary year include:

  • “25 Years, 25 Stories” initiative will highlight 25 of the thousands of stories of how AgrAbility has improved the lives of people around the country and even in other nations. The stories will be released throughout the year on AgrAbility’s Facebook page and Twitter account. Some will include links to videos related to the stories. Each story will be posted online at www.agrability.org/25years. These stories and other program-related information will be assembled in a 25th anniversary summary, which will be available in print and electronic formats later this year.
  • The annual AgrAbility National Training Workshop will highlight the program’s accomplishments and feature special speakers, including Temple Grandin, renowned animal behaviorist and autism activist. The workshop is scheduled for April 11-14, 2016 in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • AgrAbility will host a 25th anniversary celebration on July 12, 2016 in conjunction with the annual conference of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) July 10-14, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia. RESNA and AgrAbility are longtime partners; the initial AgrAbility national conferences were held in conjunction with RESNA annual meetings. The guest list for the event will include current and former AgrAbility clients, key stakeholders from the rehabilitation, agriculture and government sectors, and AgrAbility staff members.
  • An “AgrAbility Day” is being planned during the annual National Farm Safety and Health Week in September 2016. More details will be posted closer to the date.

Have a story to share about how AgrAbility PA has helped you? Interested in learning more about AgrAbility PA? Email AgrAbility@psu.edu or call (814) 867-5288. Stay in touch with news, events, and information by following AgrAbility PA on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and on Twitter @AgrAbilityPA.