AgrAbility News for June 2018

From the National AgrAbility Program:

(submitted by Paul Jones)

The Senate Agriculture Committee recently passed its version of the Farm Bill with AgrAbility included. It should be voted on by the full Senate soon. However, there are several other steps before a new Farm Bill becomes law.

The House version of the Farm Bill was defeated, but the House leadership is hoping to vote again in July. Once the Senate and House versions are passed by their respective bodies, they will go to a conference committee, composed of members of the House and Senate, to resolve differences in the bills and produce a version that both bodies can (hopefully) pass.

If the agreed-upon Farm Bill is passed by both the House and Senate, it would go to the president for signature to become law or for his veto. The president has indicated a commitment to work requirements for SNAP programs, and the Senate version of the Farm Bill does not include such work requirements.

What’s Happening with Maine AgrAbility

Project Coordinator Lani Carlson exhibited Maine AgrAbility information at the Agricultural Labor Field Day on May 3. This event was hosted by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and held at Kennebec Valley Community College. Maine AgrAbility joined 20 other exhibitors, sharing information and resources to support and expand the opportunities in agriculture through employment networking.

Maine AgrAbility met with Vocational Rehabilitation on May 16 to discuss collaborating on their progressive employment model called Jobsville. Lani Carlson will meet with VR counselors, job developers, and workforce employment specialists, in Bangor, and Augusta, Maine, during June to present possible employment opportunities for transition aged youth on farms.

A farmer who attended the NTW connected Maine AgrAbility to the Hanger clinic. Lani Carlson met with a certified prosthetist/orthotist, a PT, and employees at two of the three Hanger clinics in Maine. The last clinic will be toured in June. As a follow-up, AgrAbility information was shared with the physiatrists at the New England Rehabilitation Clinic in Scarborough.

Maine AgrAbility was a topic of discussion at UMaine Extension’s Home Horticulture Program Leadership Team (HHPLT) zoom connection on May 21, 2018. Participant Liz Stanley mentioned the good job Ellen Gibson did in presenting a gardening and aging topic. They discussed connecting with AgrAbility to integrate topics into the Master Gardener training curriculum. “We had 45 participants when we began and 50 when it ended, some handicapped [sic]. I really appreciated AgrAbility’s contribution and learned a great deal myself.” (Liz S.)