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UW research center hosts training for those assisting producers with disabilities


Rehabilitating Wyoming ranchers and farmers was the topic of a recent training conducted by Wyoming AgrAbility at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Lingle.

Participating during training the end of July were occupational therapists, independent living specialists and healthcare providers.

"SAREC is an ideal location for this type of training," said Randy Weigel, University of Wyoming College of Agriculture professor and Wyoming AgrAbility project director. "Not only do they have excellent classroom facilities, but the center allows for 'up close and personal' agricultural-related activities."

Jim Freeburn, director of operations at SAREC, led participants through hands-on experiences of livestock handling, irrigation and cropping systems and safety issues related to the wide variety of farm equipment at the center.

Classroom topics included conducting work-site agricultural assessments led by Sarah Perry, occupational therapist from Gottsche Rehabilitation in Thermopolis; tasks and hazards in the agricultural workplace, presented by Carla Wilhite, assistant professor from the University of North Dakota at Casper College; and assistive technology devices for agriculture, demonstrated by Mary Fick Monteith, assistive technology specialist with Wyoming Institute for Disabilities in Laramie. Weigel also gave a presentation on understanding farm and ranch culture.

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