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Indiana AgrAbility Team Members

Project Director: Bill Field

William Field portrait

Responsibilities: The PD is directly responsible for oversight of the Indiana AgrAbility Project (the Project) , including management of Purdue personnel involved, fiscal management, reporting, accountability issues, and liaison activities with funded affiliates and USDA-NIFA Project officer. He will review all resources prior to release and participate in training/networking activities. He will chair the Indiana AgrAbility Project Advisory Team and ensure that strategic planning findings are incorporated into annual project renewal plans.

Qualifications: Professor Field established the BNG Resource Center in 1979 and has provided leadership to it for the past 29 years. He has been involved in all aspects of BNG's programming, including the development of resources, conducting research, designing adaptive aids, and providing on-site services to farm and ranch families dealing with disabling conditions. Over the past two decades, Dr. Field has managed over $8.8 million in grants, contracts, and gifts relating to rural disability issues. These include grants from Deere and Company, NIDRR, RSA, USDA-CSREES, CDC, Indiana Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and NEC Foundation of America. He has participated in rural disability-related events in nearly 30 states, four Canadian provinces, and several foreign countries.

Project Manager: Paul Jones

Paul Jones portrait

Responsibilities: The Project Manager will be responsible for day-to-day management of operations and Purdue staff and for project coordination with the staffs of the subcontractors and unfunded collaborators. He will coordinate annual reporting activities of the Project, participate in the design of new educational resources, conduct webinars, and continue development and management of the online database of AgrAbility-related resources.

Qualifications: Paul Jones has been an AgrAbility staff member since 1998 and manager of the BNG Resource Center since 2000. As manager of the Resource Center, he has been involved in the development of all resources over the past eight years, including several that have received national awards. He recently managed a grant from NEC Foundation of America that allowed for the distribution of assistive technology resources to every county Extension office in the U.S. Mr. Jones will hold a split appointment between the NAP and the Indiana AgrAbility Project.

Rural Rehabilitation Specialist: Steve Swain

Steve Swain portrait

Responsibilities: The Rural Rehabilitation Specialist conducts disability and accessibility assessments of farms, homes, and businesses, and develops reports related to such assessments. He assists potential entrepreneurs interested in self-employment through business planning services. He is the primary liaison with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and he responds to information requests via the toll-free helpline and other means.

Qualifications: Mr. Swain joined the Breaking New Ground Outreach Program as the Rural Rehabilitation Specialist in August 2000 and the Purdue University Extension New Ventures Team in January 2004 He is a member of RESNA, a RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Practitioner, and has worked directly with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services to develop self-employment business plans for farmers exploring alternative sources of income.

AgrAbility Program Engagement Coordinator: Kylie Hendress

Kylie Hendress portrait

Responsibilities: The Program Engagement Coordinator is responsible for coordinating public awareness activities, helping to plan and conduct training events, and facilitating publications. In addition, she will be coordinating relationships with Indiana AgrAbility partners, providing some direct services to customers, and helping to facilitate our youth-oriented initiatives.

Qualifications: Kylie started with AgrAbility in August 2010. Most recently she worked in the seed business as a sales representative for corn and soybeans. Kylie graduated from Butler University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. In addition to marketing, Kylie has a strong farming background and participated in numerous 4-H projects, and she continues to stay involved with by helping with her local 4-H club. She also stays involved with her community by serving on the planning committee for her town's annual festival. Kylie is looking forward to working with the AgrAbility staff and clients to help keep people in agriculture, no matter the obstacles.

Project Ergonomist: Robert Stuthridge

Robert Stuthridge portrait

Responsibilities: The Project Ergonomist will conduct a review of all current and proposed AgrAbility resources to ensure recommendations are consistent with accepted ergonomic standards and best practices. Training will be conducted at the AgrAbility National Training Workshop (NTW) on ergonomic design, and the Project Ergonomist will be available for consultation on workplace design.

Qualifications: Mr. Stuthridge has more than 13 years of experience conducting ergonomic risk assessments and job redesign (adaptation) for workers with disabilities. He has developed and presented ergonomics training courses for workers, employers, and disability professionals. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in agricultural safety and health, and is conducting research on incorporating best ergonomic practices to agricultural worksites.

Project Assistant: Denise Heath

Denise Heath portrait

Responsibilities: The Project Assistant will provide information management services for the project, including report preparation, mailing list maintenance, and data management.

Qualifications: Denise Heath has served as the information processing systems operator for the Breaking New Ground Resource Center for more than 25 years. She has carried out numerous responsibilities, including the design of brochures, fliers, pamphlets, newsletters, and other materials; created complex documents, including technical research articles, proposals, and manuals; and served as the main phone operator and receptionist for BNG.

Farmer Liaison: Ed Bell

Ed Bell portrait

Responsibilities: The Farmer Liaison will be available for media interviews, awareness presentations, and marketing opportunities. He is also available for training, education, and support, such as staff training, consumer workshops, trade shows, and other areas where his expertise would be advantageous.

Qualifications: Ed Bell has been associated with the Breaking New Ground Resource Center since 1992 as a client and farmer-consultant, Barn Builder Peer Support Network member, and owner/operator of Bell's Strawberry Farm. He is a founder and former executive director of a rural independent living center, a professional public speaker, and a consultant/account executive for The Standing Company. Mr. Bell has conducted professional trainings and presentations on both the state and national levels.

Hoosier Uplands AgrAbility Coordinator: Linda Tarr

Linda Tarr portrait

Responsibilities: The AgrAbility Coordinator for Hoosier Uplands will focus on outreach and engagement in the southern half of the state. Special emphases will include networking with Extension, Farm Bureau, Area Agencies on Aging, and other organziations, plus educational outreach in rural mental health, caregiving, and youth activities.

Qualifications: Linda has been a Program Management Supervisor at Hoosier Uplands since 1990, where she also leads Indiana tobacco prevention and cessation initiatives. In addition, she is active in Farm Bureau and the Indiana an Orange County Cattlemen Associations, and has been a 4-H leader for more than 40 years.

Arthritis Foundation, Indiana Chapter AgrAbility Coordinator: Amber Wolfe

Amber Wolfe portrait

Responsibilities: The AgrAbility Coordinator for the Arthritis Foundation, Indiana Chapter will be a resource for rural arthritis issues. The Coordinator will provide training to professionals and consumers via rural arthritis workshops and will also assist in developing resources related to rural arthritis.

Qualifications: Amber is a Agricultural Education graduate of Purdue University, and she spent six years as an Agricultural Science and Business Teacher and FFA Adviser prior to coming to AgrAbility in 2009. Amber has a strong farming and youth background and is still active with the 4-H and FFA groups in her home county. She remains active in raising American Quarter Horses and 4-H livestock with her family.

Additional Consultants

  • Carl Jenkins
  • Ron and Susan Pletcher
  • Nellie Bell
  • Roberta Schweitzer