STATE COLLEGE — Suzanna Windon and Linda Fetzer, of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, have been appointed to leadership roles with the AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians Project, also known as AgrAbility PA.
AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers who have a disability or long-term health condition by providing services and support they need to continue working or to return to work in production agriculture. The project is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Windon, assistant professor of youth and adult leadership in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, will serve as the project director and principal investigator who manages the overall development and execution of AgrAbility PA.
She gained experience with AgrAbility while assisting with quality-of-life assessments for farmers with disabilities during her graduate work at the Ohio State University, which also has an AgrAbility state project. Her research interests include youth and adult leadership and community leadership, including volunteer management.
Windon earned a bachelor’s degree from Poltava University of Consumer Cooperatives, a doctoral degree from Crimean State Agrarian University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Ohio State University.
Fetzer, extension associate with the Penn State Agricultural Safety and Health Program, is the project manager and co-principal investigator who will manage the tracking, assessment and support for the overall project initiatives. She has worked in agricultural safety and health for more than 20 years with Penn State Extension.
Her current responsibilities include educational and programming support for various ag safety and health projects, including Worker Protection Standard, eXtension/AgSafety Community of Practice, and the Safety in Agriculture for Youth Clearinghouse. Fetzer earned a bachelor’s degree from Messiah College and a master’s degree from Penn State.
After more than 25 years with AgrAbility PA, Connie Baggett, associate professor of agricultural and extension education, will retire Dec. 31. He will continue to serve as project adviser until then.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with this new leadership for the project,” Baggett said. “Suzanna and Linda will bring great breadth and depth to the project, and their collective experiences and backgrounds researching and serving the ag safety and health community is a huge plus for the important services AgrAbility PA provides to farmers.”
Any Pennsylvanian with a disability or long-term health condition who is engaged in farming or an agriculture-related occupation may be eligible to receive services at no cost.
Services include on-site farm assessments to identify barriers to successful completion of tasks; identification of safe and appropriate modifications, equipment or assistive technology; peer and caregiver support; educational opportunities and resources; and referrals and information about state and local resources.
For more information about AgrAbility, visit agrabilitypa.org or call 814-867-5288.
AgrAbility PA does not provide direct funding; however, the staff works with funding sources to help farmers and farm families obtain needed equipment, assistive technologies or modifications.
Since initial funding in 1991, USDA-NIFA has awarded AgrAbility grants to more than 35 states resulting in on-farm assistance to more than 12,000 farmers, while educating thousands of professionals on how to accommodate those with disabilities in agriculture. For more information about AgrAbility, visit agrabilitypa.org or call 814-867-5288.