AgrAbility News for May 2021

Maine AgrAbility News

Kelley Spencer and Lani Carlson presented AgrAbility 101 via Zoom for the Maine Vocational Rehabilitation counselors from the western region of Maine on May 19. Ketra Crosson presented a similar AgrAbility 101 presentation during an all-staff meeting of Maine AgrAbility’s subaward partner, Alpha One, on May 10.

During the week of May 10, Maine AgrAbility hosted a Master of Science Occupational Therapy (MSOT) graduate student for her Level 1 fieldwork experience (Maine AgrAbility’s seventh student since April 2020). Brynn D’Arcangelo, originally from Ohio, is finishing her first year of the MSOT program at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. Due to COVID, Brynn attended meetings virtually, assisted in an AT assessment, priced out AT for an AgrAbility client, developed and recorded “Life of an MSOT student?” which staff will be sharing on their website, and developed an AT bulletin for the B2B curriculum.

Based on feedback from students, staff have pivoted their B2B programming to better meet the needs of the aspiring veteran farmers. Meetings will be held monthly on different farms across the state to learn about specific topics such as irrigation system installation, garlic harvesting, and different aspects of building a high tunnel. Even though the program has been developing fluidly, it still fits the needs of the students:

“B2B is an awesome program for us veterans… For me B2B has it good points – the speed of the classes, the spacing of them allows us to practice what we are learning in class outside of the classroom setting. The keynote speakers really displayed a passion for what they were talking to us about which made us feel as though they cared about our learning.” (B2B student S.R)

stop light image: Go = continue routine activities, ask PCP about preventative health steps; Caution = warm-up, stretch, and avoid strenuous activity, call AgrAbility for advice on adaptive tools and techniques; Stop = delegate or delay tasks, see your PCPFinally, staff are proud to share their project work on Managing Pain on the Farm: A Tool for Farmers, which includes a new publication, video, and webinar. Pain can often be a taboo topic, especially in physically demanding jobs like farming. Often, there is an expectation that pain associated with the physical work of farming, fishing, or forestry is to be expected. Maine AgrAbility developed these resources so farmers can take steps to reduce pain, and can reach out to AgrAbility for suggestions on ways for them to continue to work using alternative actions or assistive technology. For more information, watch the recorded webinar “Assessing Your Pain” and check out the new publication.

National AgrAbility News

The AgrAbility Regional Workshop in Billings is being coordinated in conjunction with the Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program. The first two days of presentations will focus on farm stress and mental health, working with tribal nations and veterans, adaptive tools and technologies, and worksite assessment. The third day will feature tours of local agricultural enterprises. For more information check this website.

“Veterans Harvest: A Virtual Conference for Veterans in Agriculture.” This series will convene for five consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 27 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. ET. Those already registered for the 2021 AgrAbility National Training Workshop Virtual Sessions are automatically registered for the veterans’ conference.  For more information check this website.


Toolbox Spotlight

man using a power broom in a barnConnected to a battery- or gas-powered multi-tool power-head, the Handheld Rotary Broom Attachment is designed to sweep away dirt, sand, snow, mud, water, etc. from hard surfaces (even debris from lawns) quickly and with less strain on one’s back and shoulders than would a manual push broom. It generally consists of a 1- to 2-foot-wide, 10-inch or so-diameter, nylon-bristled or rubber-finned broom.