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Vermont AgrAbility Helps Disabled and Suffering Vermont Farmers

March 4, 2014

We have all been injured in one way or another at work or at play. Sustaining an injury usually affects our ability to be as productive as our uninjured selves. Many of us will heal fairly quickly and get back to business as usual. What happens to those who do not recover from their injury? What happens to a farm or other agricultural enterprise when a farmer or farm hand is unable to work due to an injury or a chronic health condition?

The University of Vermont Extension has a couple programs in place that address this and related issues. The Rebates for Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) program helps prevent injury by providing a 70% rebate (up to $865) for the installation of a ROPS on farm equipment. The Vermont AgrAbility Project provides resources for farm and equipment modifications to farmers with a disability or chronic health condition.

Agriculture consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations. Each year agricultural workers in Vermont sustain disabling injuries in work-related accidents, non-farm injuries, illness and other chronic health conditions. The effects of a farm going out of business are felt from the family level to the state level. Farming has about a $4 billion impact on Vermont’s economy (http://governor.vermont.gov/govdash/agriculturepage). When farms go out of business or do not run efficiently, families are devastated and Vermont suffers.

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Preventing Injury

The first step toward keeping a productive farm in business is ensuring safety. When 7 out of 10 farms are out of business within a year of a tractor rollover, it makes sense to protect yourself, your family, and your business. Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) are 99% effective, when used with a seatbelt, in preventing rollover deaths and serious injuries. If your tractor does not have ROPS installed, do it now! You can save 70% (up to $865) on costs to retrofit your tractor with ROPS. Just call, 1-877-767-7748 with the year, make, and model of your tractor and they will help you find the right ROPS for your tractor. This rebate offer ends soon.

Accommodating an Injury

So, what happens when a farmer or other agricultural worker must live with an injury indefinitely? Vermont AgrAbility is a free, confidential service provided by University of Vermont Extension, promoting success in Vermont agriculture for people with health conditions and their families.

jd hand clutch-3Vermont AgrAbility helps farmers and agricultural workers with chronic health conditions gain more control over their lives, continue to farm successfully, and live independently. They offer education, assistance, referrals for financial assistance, and facilitate farm modifications to accommodate your unique abilities.

Eligibility

Vermont Farmers and agricultural workers eligible for Vermont AgrAbility services may have any type of acquired or traumatic disability – physical, cognitive or sensory.

AgrAbility addresses many conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Arthritis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Paralysis
  • Back impairment
  • Amputation
  • Brain injury
  • Visual / hearing
  • Respiratory
  • Muscular

No Cost Services

Information and referral

  • Information about farming with a disability
  • Referrals for financial assistance

On-Site and Technical Assistance

  • Restructure work tasks / operations
  • Modify farm equipment and tools
  • Acquire assistive technologies
  • Explore alternative agriculture enterprises

Secondary Injury Prevention

  • How to prevent further injuries or disabling conditions

Peer Support

  • Connect with others who have accommodated their disability

Background and Resources

The Vermont AgrAbility Project operates under a grant from USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service in Washington, D.C. We have a vast network of resources to address the individual needs of each farmer. Currently, there are 21 USDA-funded State AgrAbility projects, plus several affiliates serving other states using other funding sources.

Install your ROPS so you do not become an AgrAbility client. If you do sustain an injury or would like to accommodate to an existing injury or disability take advantage of your Vermont AgrAbility Project. Vermont needs farmers and we may be able to help you continue to farm comfortably and productively.

For more information contact:

Geoff Whitchurch

vtagrability@uvm.edu

(802)888-4972 ext. 403

Follow us:

www.facebook.com/vtagrability

www.twitter.com/vtagrability

www.farmsafevt.wordpress.com

Specially Adapted Housing Grants for Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans

February 20, 2014

Are you a Veteran with a severe service-connected disability that affects your mobility?  Do you know someone who is?  If you answered “Yes” to either question, then you or someone you know may be eligible for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program that is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The SAH program helps certain severely-disabled Veterans and Servicemembers purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing home, to create a barrier-free-living environment.  VA offers two grant programs:  the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant and the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant.

The SAH grant can be used to purchase or modify a home so that it provides a barrier-free living environment that affords Veterans a higher level of independent living. Veterans and Service members with certain service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a grant up to the current maximum of $67,555.

The SHA grant can be used to increase the mobility of eligible Veterans and Service members throughout their home. Veterans and Service members with specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to this type of grant, up to the current maximum of $13,511.

In addition to these two grant types, a temporary residential grant may be available to SAH/SHA eligible Veterans and Service members who are or will be temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member. The maximum amount available to adapt a family member’s home for the SAH grant is $29,657 and for the SHA grant it is $5,295. All grant amounts are indexed annually based on cost of construction, and the grant amounts will never decrease.

VA has staff located nationwide to assist individuals in applying for and receiving these grants.  You can find more detailed information about qualifying disabilities here: http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp, and you can find contact information for an SAH Agent in your area here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/contact_agents.asp.

Each Veteran’s housing/living needs are as unique as their physical disabilities.  The SAH program provides hands-on, personalized, customized service to severely-disabled Veterans seeking home adaptations.

If you have any questions, please email sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov.

Vermont AgrAbility Program Updates

January 16, 2014

Hello everyone,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and pass along a few program updates and recent changes to the Vermont AgrAbility Program.

I am Geoff Whitchurch. The UVM Extension Vermont AgrAbility Program hired me in early December as the Education and Outreach Coordinator.

About Vermont AgrAbility:

The Vermont AgrAbility Project is a sub-unit of a larger National program designed to help farmers and agricultural workers with chronic health conditions gain more control over their lives, continue to farm successfully, and live independently. We offer education, assistance, facilitate farm modifications, and assist in finding funding sources.

A couple quick, select examples of past projects: We found funding for the fabrication and installation of a lower step on a tractor to help a farmer with arthritis get up on his tractors more easily. We have found funding for the fabrication of a hand clutch for a farmer with an amputation and a farmer with arthritis. We had retractable stairs designed and built with a handrail and counter-weight to accommodate a farmer with M.S.

We are currently working toward solutions with a farmer with A.L.S., another with mental challenges, and another with a possible sleep disorder, among others.

Our goal is to help farmers experiencing any physical or mental hardship find solutions to help them continue farming comfortably and productively. Our services are free. We make farm visits to determine type of need. The Vermont AgrAbility Project neither offers nor guarantees funding for these projects. But, we can help find funding, usually through such agencies as Vermont Center for Independent Living, and Vocational Rehab. We are a state-wide program so please help us find farmers and help farmers find us!

Vermont Farm Show:

We are gearing up for the 2014 Vermont Farm Show. The show will be at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction from January 28th to January 30th. Open 9 to 5pm on Tuesday / 9 to 7pm on Wednesday / and 9 to 4pm on Thursday. We are sharing a booth space with ROPS (Rebates for Rollbars), and we will have a VT Health Connect Navigator with us. Please stop by and say hi and get more information.

More about ROPS:

7 out of 10 farms are out of business within a year after a tractor rollover. So, it makes sense to protect yourself, your family, and your business. Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) are 99% effective in preventing rollover deaths and serious injuries. Outfitting your older model tractors with ROPS can greatly increase your chances for future success following a rollover accident. The ROPS program can fund 70% (up to $865) on costs toward retrofitting your tractor with a rollover protective structure. All it takes is a phone call or email with your tractor make and model and we will do the rest. In Lamoille County, Vermont, ROPS can fund 100% of the cost. Contact a ROPS agent: 1-877-767-7748 or on the web at www.ropsr4u.com.

Please, Like Us, Follow Us, Tweet Us, and stay connected with Vermont AgrAbility on our social media outlets or my contact info found at the end of this post.

Please contact me if you have any ideas, questions, or if you are or know a farmer or other agricultural worker who may need our services. I am happy to make site visits!

Thank you!

-Geoff

Geoffrey Whitchurch
AgrAbility Outreach Coordinator
University of Vermont Extension
29 Sunset Drive, Suite 2
Morrisville, VT 05661
802.888.4972 ext. 403
geoffrey.whitchurch@uvm.edu

Agriculture related jobs and internship opportunities

January 13, 2014
Cellar Hand Sebastopol, CA.
Cellar Hand in production winery needed.Local winery in Sebastopol is seeking entry level cellar worker. No winery experience necessary; training is provided.

Responsibilities include shipping/receiving bulk wine from tanker, sanitizing empty tanks, forklift work, loading and unloading trucks, pressure washing winery floors and tank exteriors, and keeping equipment sanitized. Must be able to routinely lift 50lbs.

This is a full time position; flexible work hours including some evening and weekend work may be required.
Compensation: $13/hr. at time of hire; pay increases based on proficiency.

Reply to the ad with a one page resume to be considered for this position. Check out the posting here.

Two Mountain Farm Andover, NH. Journeyperson Program

NOFA-NH’s Journeyperson Program provides production farmers in their first few years of independent farming with the kind of hands-on support, training, and community connection that only comes with experience. Journeyperson applicants are beginning farmers who have previous on-farm experience/apprenticeship and training, and are serious about pursuing a career in organic farming in NH.

This is an intensive mentorship model, and Journeyperson mentors are paid an annual stipend for their time and one-year commitment. Journeypersons are offered education and business planning stipends, and are enrolled in the program for two years.

Application deadline: January 15, 2014

For more information click here.

Colorado Farm To Table Salida, CO
Colorado Farm to Table is a non-profit farming organization located in central Colorado. Our mission is: “Volunteers grow, harvest and distribute fresh produce at no cost to food banks, soup kitchens and pantries, feeding families in need across Colorado.” This small farm operation, in business since 1996, (>20 acres) specializes in growing vegetables at high altitude for distribution to partners across Colorado. In a good irrigation water year such as 2011, we raised and distributed to the food insecure in Colorado more than 94 tons of fresh produce.
Farm Manager;
Carry out all duties related to the growing of sweet corn, cabbage, broccoli, three varieties of squash as well as any other produce crops to be grown in the future, Operate greenhouse and oversee the growing of cabbage and broccoli starts, Operate all equipment necessary to complete all field work, seed bed preparations, planting, irrigating, cultivating, and spraying, Oversee field crews and assist in all facets of harvesting and loading of produce during harvest, Service, repair, refurbish, and maintain all equipment used throughout the year, Weld and construct any equipment or tools needed according to design providedClick here to apply.

For more information about the position contact Tony Madone, Jr. at 719-207-2737 or email info@coloradofarmtotable.org

Dazi Acres Pikeville, TN.
Dazi Acres is a 27-acre sustainable, renaissance farm in Eastern Tennessee. We raise pastured chicken, turkey, pork, and beef. Using the Poly-face Farm as our model. Our chicken is featured in one of Chattanooga’s finest restaurants as well as the best Italian restaurant in Crossville.We have one (possibly two) opening(s) for an internship beginning April 15 in which you will learn:
Pastured chicken and duck management, including care and feeding, moving on a daily basis, predator management and weekly slaughter, Baby chick management, Pastured turkey management, including care and feeding, and moving 2-3 times a week using electric netting, Pastured pork production, including care and feeding and 2-3 times a week moving using electric netting and training to electric wire, Pastured rabbit management, including care and feeding, moving on a daily basis, and slaughter, Management intensive grazing for cattle, layer chickens and sheep and use of electric wire, most likely at our home farm and a nearby rented farm, Handmade cold process soap making, You will learn both the “master batch” and individual loaf methods, Farmers’ Market marketing, including setup, rules and regulations, and direct marketing to customers and restaurants, CSA management, Building a pole barn, Equipment and infrastructure maintenance.

Apply today by submitting your letter of interest toinfo@daziacres.com

For more information click  here.

 

United Veterans Beacon House Promise, SD.
The United Veterans Beacon House is seeking a House Manager for their Transitional Home
.

Native American Homeless Veterans located in Promise, South Dakota. The United Veterans Beacon House Home and Farm is located on 29 acres of the beautiful Moreau River Valley and will house 13 Veterans seeking a new life in a Transitional Home where every Veteran resident will participate in Trade and Life Skills Training.

If you have Organic Gardening or Farming experience that would be a benefit, but is not a requirement. A requirement is for everyone to learn, be grateful, live with dignity and want to help Veterans.

Listed below are some of the programs that will be in operation; 3 Acre irrigated Organic Garden, Greenhouse operation, Native American Crafts, Classic & Antique vehicle Restoration, Chicken & Pheasant Raising, Computer Skills Training, Antique Equipment Restoration, Heavy Equipment training, Cooking & Food Service, Woodworking/Carpentry, EMT Training & Certification, Small Dairy Skills.

If you’re interested in this position please contact Peter J. Forbes at info@vfus.us or call Toll-Free 1-877-838-4483.

For more information click  here.

Blue Sky Organic Farms Litchfield Park, AZ.
Organic farm seeks full-time employee interested in learning the hands-on and business of modern agriculture.

Blue Sky Organic Farms is a family-run farm in Litchfield Park, Arizona, in operation since 1995. The 35-acre farm is certified organic, which means the fields and growing practices meet strict federal standards. We grow 100% of the produce we offer. A selection of our produce is available at Whole Foods Grocery Stores across the Valley, at the Scottsdale Farmers Market, and at our farm store. We recently started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in which our neighbors support our farm in exchange for a weekly share of our harvest.

We hope to find a candidate willing to work 20 to 40 hours a week. Salary is negotiable. Tasks include hands-on assistance in the fields, tractor operation, irrigation work, and general helping out around the farm. You will learn what it takes to work on a farm but also what it take to run a farm, which includes seeding, equipment, and money management. When you’ve finished your time with us, you will leave with the full knowledge of how to make a farm work, and hopefully, you will be able to start a farm of your own. A business background is useful but not required. We also want people who are passionate about healthy living, buying local, and serving the community.

If Blue Sky Organic Farms is of interest to you, please contact Sara Bauer at 623-266-4031 or sara@saradobie.com

For more information click here.

Carbon Monoxide and Fires

January 8, 2014

PUT A FREEZE ON WINTER FIRES

Freeze on winter fires

The United State Fire Administration (USFA) and NFPA remind you that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. People are at greater risk in the winter season when they may use unsafe heat sources or if they don’t follow fire safety rules in the kitchen or while using candles.

Facts and figures

Carbon monoxide

  • In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found, or an average of nine calls per hour.
  • A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.
    Source: NFPA’s Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents report.

Electrical safety

  • Roughly half of home electrical fires involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
  • Nearly half of home electrical fires involve equipment such as fans, washers, dryers, space heaters and air conditioners.
    Source:NFPA’s Electrical Firesreport. 
Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. Carbon monoxide calls to fire departments are more common during the early evening hours.

 

Video: NFPA’s Ben Evarts explains why carbon monoxide is dangerous.

Electrical safety

Electricity is one of our basic needs. The best way to keep your home safe from electrical hazards is to take good care of appliances and to use all electrical equipment properly.

Heating

Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. In fact, half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.

Cooking

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries.

Candles

The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.

HOLIDAY DECORATIONS

The winter holiday season should be a joyous time of year. However, certain types of fires and injuries associated with holiday decorating are much more common during this season.

See more NFPA resources on winter safety topics:

Off To College; Apartment Living

August 19, 2013

PArk-City-Last-Day-006-1024x768Soon, many young adults will be moving into off-campus housing for the upcoming semester.  Many are making that trip without their parents; loading everything into their car and heading off.  Wow; big, exciting changes for the student as well as the family left at home.  I don’t think it makes you a “helicopter parent” to make sure they are living in a fire-safe environment. It’s simply a part of educating your student to what they need to do to stay safe during the school year.

Send them off with a list of phone numbers, preferably laminated, to post on their refrigerator.  Include both the emergency and non-emergency number for the fire and police departments. 911 is the universal emergency phone number in all US states.  Include the phone number of the landlord or property management firm for the apartment.  Include the 911 address of the apartment.  In an emergency, it’s a good idea to have that information available to read; no one knows how they will react in an emergency – answering even simple questions could be difficult.

I know the car is full, but send them off with an ABC fire extinguisher, or better yet, two.  One for their bedroom, one for the kitchen.  ABC means they work on 3 classes of fire; A = combustible materials like paper or wood. B = flammable liquids like gasoline or oil. C = electrical.   Make sure they know to call 911 first, before attempting to put out any fire.  It needs to be a small, contained fire to use an extinguisher. Do they know how to use a fire extinguisher?

  • P – pull the pin
  • A – aim at the base of the fire, not the flame
  • S – squeeze the lever
  • S – sweep from side-to-side

Checking the fire alarms and carbon monoxide monitors is probably not going to be high on their priority list.  On that call home, when they tell you they’ve arrived safely and are all moved in, ask them about the fire alarms and CO monitors.

  • Has she/he tested them?
  • Is there a smoke alarm for every bedroom, outside the sleeping area, and on every level?
  • Are they all interconnected, so when one sounds, they all sound?

Click here for Smoke Detectors and CO monitor regulations, by state.

If there are no detectors, or they are outdated (have no date of manufacture or are more than 10 years old), or are not functioning correctly, that is not acceptable.

If your child is a smoker, or has friends that smoke, encourage them to smoke only outside, and use sturdy, deep, non-tip ashtrays.  Many think a can or disposable cup makes a great ashtray – encourage them to have water in the bottom to extinguish the ashes.

The ambiance of candles is great, but they are so dangerous; they’re an open flame with lots of fuel.  Candles need to be placed in sturdy candle holders and placed no less than 12″ from anything that can burn (including >12″ from the maximum that the curtains can move).  Candles must be blown out whenever they leave the room or go to bed.

I hope your child has a healthy, safe and wonderful semester while you get used to that empty nest!

Wonderful Weather for a Trim!

July 22, 2013

Image

Yesterday when I woke up, the house was almost chilly!  The high temperature for the day was 25 degrees cooler than Friday, with much lower humidity and a stiff breeze.  Perfect weather for working in the yard and gardens.  I slathered on the sunscreen, donned my sunglasses and dorky sun hat with the long tail in back to protect my neck, and headed outside.  The front gardens and lilacs needed work; I’ve been avoiding them for too long.  I got out my rubber kneeling pad, wheelbarrow, anvil and bypass pruners, bow saw and work gloves and headed to the front lawn, followed by my trusty companion, Kade.

I quickly found that the mosquitoes were enjoying the weather as well; they were ferocious!  Back inside I went for bug dope.  My hat may be dorky, but spraying bug dope on it works; I don’t have to put the chemicals in my hair or on my face and neck!

It didn’t take long to find that my pruners were dull.  It took a very few passes with the sharpener and I was back in business.  What a difference sharpening makes!!

I subscribe to the theory that the only difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is about a week, and feel this translates well to pruning.  Truthfully, at first I was a bit conservative, but Husband was tedding hay; now was my chance to work without a critic telling me “enough”!  I asked Kade if it looked alright, and she smiled back at me (she’s a Norwegian Elkhound, she always looks like she’s smiling!) so I kept going.  The more I trimmed the lilacs, the better she liked it; she loved being able to get under them, into the shade as I took out the low-hanging branches.  Some branches were touching the house; they’re gone now….  (I googled ‘pruning lilacs’; it should have been done right after blossoming.  Ooops……)

Am I done yet?  No, I need to get into the bushes and thin out the suckers; Hubby came home and was okay with what I’d done, but didn’t want me to do any more.  Thinning will happen another day; I just have to give him a week to get used to this “haircut”!

gailinvt | July 22, 2013 at 10:27 am | Categories: Staff | URL: http://wp.me/pEWhl-Ac
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