AgrAbility Conference

Since my time in Extension, I have been fortunate to become aware of an excellent program for agricultural workers with disabilities or chronic illness. This program is known as AgrAbility and my colleague Susan Harris-Broomfield recently wrote an article about an upcoming conference hosted by Nebraska AgrAbility. The workshop, hosted by Nebraska AgrAbility, is the foremost educational event in the nation addressing disabilities in agriculture. Potential clients and their families, AgrAbility staff members and stakeholders — including U.S. Department of Agriculture and rehabilitation professionals, other nonprofit members, and suppliers of products beneficial to AgrAbility customers — are invited. The AgrAbility National Training Workshop will occur from March 25-28 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln.

barn on field against sky
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The program will offer information on leveraging resources and direct service to clients; networking opportunities with other clients, service providers and agency representatives; and training. Registration is required at Registration closes March 21.

AgrAbility aims to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities so that they, their families and communities can continue to succeed.

Nebraska AgrAbility’s team includes Nebraska Extension educators Nancy Frecks and Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska faculty member Aaron Yoder and Nebraska Easterseals staff members Angie Howell, Rod Peterson, Emily Freudenburg and John Davis.

Success can have multiple meanings, whether it is getting back to one’s own business, gaining employment in agricultural production or gaining the assistive technology needed to complete everyday tasks. Nebraska AgrAbility’s priorities are to develop educational programs that increase individual knowledge, advance capabilities through new technologies, encourage peer networking and provide direct services to agricultural workers in need. Nebraska AgrAbility has worked with 567 clients since 1995, serving clients in 92 of the state’s 93 counties.

For more information on Nebraska AgrAbility, visit

Source: Article written at IANR news from Susan Harris-Broomfield, Nebraska Extension Educator


Task Modifications Can Ease Arthritis Pain

On November 7, UNL Extension is partnering with other groups to conduct the Annual Fillmore County Health Fair to be held at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds from 11:00 – 6:00 p.m. Our office will have a booth with information to keep you healthy and other information our office provides. In addition, the Nebraska AgrAbility Project, which has a partnership with Extension, will be in attendance. One debilitating disease for farmers and ranchers that reduces mobility and physical strength is arthritis.

Sharry Nielsen, UNL extension educator says, “We estimate that there are over 50 million doctor-diagnosed cases of arthritis; to accommodate some arthritis related limitations people can consider some solutions.” One solution uses a very ancient technology, the wheel. Nielsen said that farmers and ranchers could use wheeled devices such as wheelbarrows to transport seed, feed and equipment, which eliminates heavy lifting and puts less stress on joints.

Nielsen suggested using ergonomically designed tools that are of a lighter weight to reduce joint stress, pain and fatigue. “Many farmers think that pain is just part of the job,” she said, “but there really are some steps that they can take to prevent the pain of arthritis.”

To help prevent arthritis, the Nebraska AgrAbility Project has created a brochure describing a series of daily stretches to help joint health. You can view the brochure and other information about arthritis, or stop by their booth at the Health Fair!