AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians took part in Penn State's 2016 Ag Progress Days in August at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rocks Spring. Ag Progress Days is Pennsylvania's largest outdoor agricultural exposition and is sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Thousands of people attend the annual event every August.
AgrAbility PA teamed up with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to host activities in the Rural Health and Safety tent located at the end of West 6th St., next to the Farm Safety Demonstration Area.
Staff members from AgrAbility PA were 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 had a chance to talk about and see examples of equipment, assistive technologies, and modifications that can make work and life around the farm more accessible.
AgrAbility PA also offered drinks (donated by Turkey Hill Dairy, Lancaster County) and snacks to AgrAbility clients that stopped by the booth to chat and visit.
Hundreds of visitors to the Rural Health and Safety tent also took advantage of free daily health screenings from fellow organizations, including vision tests, blood pressure readings, personal protection demonstrations, and more. These organizations included Centre HomeCare, Mount Nittany Medical Center, New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, North Central Sight Services, and Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health.
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 AgrAbility@psu.edu 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.