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Workshops focus on helping ag operators with disabilities

Branson cattle rancher with MS got help from the AgrAbility program

Colorado

A unique government-funded program to ensure farmers and ranchers with disabilities can stay on their farms and ranches is holding a series of workshops across the state beginning in November.

An AgrAbility workshop will be conducted in Yuma at the First Presbyterian Church on Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. The full schedule of the programs, designed to get aid to farmers and ranchers that need it, is listed below.

Marty McMillan, a Branson cattle rancher with multiple sclerosis, got help obtaining a power wheelchair and assistance with the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van.

"I would suggest anybody in a situation like mine contact AgrAbility," McMillan said. "They have a lot of resources they can tap into. They have notebooks full of information on projects they've worked on, so they have lots of solutions for people with MS and other disabilities."

McMillan, who still helps with the books at his 7,000-acre ranch, met the staff with AgrAbility at a Lamar Ag Day event many years ago. He said he was immediately impressed that the AgrAbility staff knew about disabilities, and how to identify and utilize resources to help farm and ranch operators stay on their farms and ranches.

This year, the Colorado AgrAbility Project will offer 19 free workshops in 10 communities throughout Colorado. On most days there will be a workshop in the morning and a workshop in the afternoon. The morning workshop is titled "Got Multiple Sclerosis on the Ranch/Farm?--Call AgrAbility." This workshop is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., with a free lunch served from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. for those who pre-register at least one week prior to the workshop they plan to attend. Persons planning to attend a workshop should call Dr. Bob Fetsch at 970-491-5648 or e-mail fetsch@cahs.colostate.edu for more information and to register so that a lunch can be provided for you.

The afternoon workshops are for professionals who work with ranch and ranch families with disabilities. The workshop will focus on "AgrAbility and Utilizing Multiple Sclerosis Resources with Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities." Please contact Bob Fetsch at 970-491-5648 for specific information about the times/dates for this workshop.

Workshop information:

--Meeker: Jan. 21, Meeker Extension Office at 779 Sulphur Creek Road with Bill Ekstrom 970-878-9490.

--Walden: Jan. 22, Soil Conservation District Building at 312 Fifth St., with Debbie Alpe 970-723-4298.

--Monte Vista: Jan. 28, San Luis Valley Information Center at 947 1st Ave., with Eleanor West 719-852-7381.

--Trinidad: Jan. 29, Trinidad Junior College Sullivan Student Center at 600 Prospect Ave., with Dean Oatman 719-846-6881.

--Pueblo: Jan. 30, Pueblo County Extension Office at 212 W. 12th St. with Marvin Reynolds 719-583-6566.

--Aurora: Feb. 10, Arapahoe County Fairgrounds at 25690 East Quincy Avenue with Dale Edwards 303-738-7907.

--Yuma: Feb. 11, First Presbyterian Church at 110 W. 4th Ave., with Dennis Kaan 970-345-2287.

--Sterling: Feb. 12, Logan County Extension Office at 508 South 10th Ave., Suite 1 with Bruce Bosley 970-522-3200, ext. 285.

Colorado State Cooperative Extension and Easter Seals Colorado work together on the Colorado AgrAbility Project to provide on-site evaluations, resource information, disability workshops, equipment modification and assistive technology. The USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service provides funding for the Colorado AgrAbility Project.

1/5/09
3 Star CO\9-B

Date: 12/29/08



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