mPower! Financing Adaptive Equipment & Technology

November 12th, 2013 8:09 AM

This free webinar explores Maine’s mPower Loan Program – offering low interest financing that increases the purchasing power of people with disabilities in Maine.

Jeremy Libby, Independent Living Specialist from Alpha One reviews the mPower Loan Program application process and loan eligibility. The mPower Loan Program was created more than 20 years ago as a revolving fund and hundreds of loans have been made and paid back over the years. The presentation will outline many types of adaptive equipment, assistive technology, vehicles and home access modifications that can be bought using mPower funds.

Complete information on how to register for this webinar may be found on this link to the Maine CITE Training page.

Livestock producers who suffer from arthritis can learn ways to manage pain and prevent injury.

November 11th, 2013 11:04 AM

The National AgrAbility Project  at Purdue University will host the free webinar to provide an overview of the tasks related to livestock production and to show the relationship between arthritis pain management and those tasks. “Osteoarthritis, Joint Stress and Injury Prevention in Livestock Production” will be on November 19, 2013 at 3 p.m. (EST).   Webinar to help livestock producers cope with arthritis



Maine Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

November 10th, 2013 11:25 AM

Maine Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting!

November 9 – 11, 2013 at the  Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Conference Center, Bar Harbor, Maine

62nd Annual Meeting  (hosted by Washington-Hancock County Farm Bureau)

Photo: In Bar Harbor at the annual Maine Farm Bureau	meeting.

Farmer Veteran Coalition

November 1st, 2013 9:04 AM

The article entitled Swords Into Plowshares discusses Michael O’Gorman’s efforts in establishing the Farmer Veteran Coalition in Davis, CA.  The Maine chapter is currently being established to assist veterans in Maine. For more information contact:


50-Cent Fixes

October 22nd, 2013 2:59 PM
By Tom Gillis ATP, Alpha One & Maine AgrAbility

Whether farming is your livelihood or you’re a weekend gardener, the simple fixes listed below can help reduce the stress and wear your body endures while farming to make your work more productive and efficient.

 Standing at a work bench for an extended period fixing that broken mower engine?

Find a scrap piece of 4”x4” and use it as a footrest to periodically shift your weight from side-to-side to relieve pressure in your back and knees.

  Do you experience back or knee discomfort from bending over/down when planting seeds?

Use a scrap piece of PVC pipe at a length long enough to hold while in an upright, standing position.  Straddle your garden rows, push the pipe in to the desired planting depth and simply drop the seed down the pipe.

  Weeding young plants in plastic flats?

Don’t bend over to weed the plants; put the flats on a portable table that you can bring to your worksite.  This will bring the flats to a height that is comfortable for you to work from.

  Washing leafy greens by hand?

Instead of putting stress on your back by bending over and exposing your hands to cold water as you wash, put the greens in a mesh bag and with an erect posture lift the greens out of the water.  This will allow you to efficiently wash more greens, reduce the time your hands are exposed to cold water, limit back strain, and reduce the risk of the greens being damaged during the washing process.

 Having difficulty gripping a pair of pliers or other small hand tools?

Try a product called Sugru or Model Magic which is a light-weight moldable substance. When applied and cured it can be used to “build up” the handles of small hand tools to provide extra gripping area or comfort.  The material can also be used to make a pencil or utensil grips.

 One-handed use of a battery/ electric operated drill?

Use a magnetic drill bit which will make one-handed drill operation easier and more efficient.

 Need reminders about chore times and other tasks around the farm?

Program a list of chores into your cell phone, smart phone or iPad which can give you an auditory prompt (i.e. beep, ring, chime) as to when necessary tasks need to occur.

 Do you have low vision or a vision impairment and are trying to manage farm records on your computer?

Adjust the computer screen’s display to a high contrast theme; enlarge the size of the mouse arrow; or use the on-screen magnifier feature.  All these functions come standard on all Windows PCs and can be found under the ‘Ease of Access Center’ section:

→        Start Menu;
→       Control Panel;
→       Ease of Access Center; 
→       Choose the desired adaptation and its settings.
High contrast computer screen display in a Word document

High- contrast computer screen display in a “Word” document

On-Screen Magnifier controlled with mouseUntitled2

For more information about ideas that can make your farming experience more productive and less physically demanding, check out the National AgrAbility Program’s Tool Box Assistive Technology Database at


Following Through to Keep Our Youth Safe on the Farm

September 30th, 2013 10:33 AM
“On average, more than 100 youth die each year in farm-related accidents.  Thousands more are injured on the farm or ranch.” See more at Secretary’s Column: Following Through to Keep Our Youth Safe on the Farm.

MN AgrAbility program keeps disabled farmers farming

September 25th, 2013 12:31 PM

What happens when physical limitations keep a farmer from farming — his livelihood and his life? AgrAbility helps to answer that and similar questions for farmers, giving them hope.  Read more.

Free Farm Safety Stickers Available

September 25th, 2013 11:55 AM

Work Safely, Keep FarmingFarmers have the seventh most-dangerous job in America.

Annually, there are 26.2 work-related fatalities per 100,000 full-time farmers, according to Business Insider. Of the 268 farm deaths in 2011, 54 percent were transportation related.

With harvest season underway, many Maine farmers and farm workers are operating farm tractors in fields and on roads. To promote workplace safety, the Maine AgrAbility Program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One, developed a brightly colored decal to be applied to tractor fenders, dashboards and windshields. The decal reminds operators to work safely.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s AgrAbility Program will give as many as five free safety stickers to each farm in Maine. To order, contact Maine AgrAbility Coordinator Lani Carlson at or 207.944.1533, or online.

Maine AgrAbility is an outreach program for farmers and farm workers with disabilities or chronic illnesses to help them keep farming. Maine AgrAbility is sponsored by UMaine Extension in collaboration with Alpha One and Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. More information about Maine AgrAbility is online (

Keep Farming Using Technology Solutions

September 18th, 2013 9:46 AM

Archived Webinar from 9/24/2013

In this webinar, participants will learn more about Maine’s AgrAbility program and about the farmers who are using these services. The presenter will discuss farmer’s disability related needs; look at technology solutions including off-the-shelf products, adaptive equipment, farm modification, and software products. The presentation will also include funding options.

Target audience: Farmers, occupational therapists, physical therapist, educators in Cooperative Extension, vocational rehabilitation counselors, Veterans, Assistive Technology Practitioners, others in the Maine agricultural community.



Jemison Talks to MPBN about Health Care for Migrant Workers

August 16th, 2013 11:13 AM

John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about the need for affordable health care for Maine’s migrant workers. Jemison said farm labor can be hard on health and its workers are notoriously underinsured and underserved. As part of a UMaine Extension project two years ago, Jemison learned one of the biggest issues farm workers face is access to affordable health care. He says the idea of a mobile health clinic is intriguing but wonders how it will be paid for.