AgrAbility program to host virtual state fair

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:23 PM EDT
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Maine (WAGM) -

Events formerly held at large venues, are finding their way to computer screens across the state instead. In this week’s County Ag Report, Kathy McCarty has more on a virtual state fair that will benefit farmers and more.

A program that provides assistance and more to agricultural workers with disabilities is going virtual. Caragh Fitzgerald, of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, says online events will include videos of clients showcasing the breadth of Maine’s agriculture, and solutions to address common limitations faced by agricultural workers related to mental, physical or cognitive health issues.

“Our focus is on health and safety and injury prevention for folks who work on farms and in the woods and on the water,” says Caragh Fitzgerald, Extension Educator for Agriculture.

Hosting a virtual fair means reaching a wider audience, be it a logger in Ashland or a lobsterman from Boothbay.

Fitzgerald says, “All of our state fairs and many events have been canceled this year, and usually AgrAbility has a presence at a lot of those, so this is a way to try to get our information out to folks nationally, but in state also. Everything we post on the national page, we’ll have accessible in state as well.”

Activities are slated to take place on both Facebook and Twitter.

“We will be sharing videos and educational information about the program. Some of our focus areas include: youth, veterans, assisted technology, having opportunities without barriers, education, and then a premiere of a brand new video on farmer stress,” she says.

Maine farmers have been hard hit by this summer’s drought and the pandemic, which caused the closure of facilities, and thus lost meat and produce sales.

“Farmer suicide rates are much higher than the national average, and it’s important to be talking about those sources of stress and how to manage it and, as communities, how we can help our farmers to manage that stress as well,” says Fitzgerald.

The free event runs all day October 20th, from just after midnight through 11:59 p.m. For more information on how to take part, visit

For more information or to participate, visit:

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