Texas AgrAbility Staff
The following individuals work together to produce the solutions to assist in keeping the farmer/rancher in their current occupation.
Dr. Rick Peterson is the Project Director of the Texas AgrAbility Project. As Project Director he oversees the grant project and provides administrative grant management functions including: fiscal oversight, oversight of program subcontracts, personnel supervision, project implementation, education and evaluation. He is also a faculty member of the Texas A&M University Center on Disability and Development.
Dr. Peterson holds degrees from Kansas State University, including a B.A. in Animal Science, a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a Ph.D. in Family Life Education. Dr. Peterson was actively involved in production agricultural for 10 years following graduation from Kansas State University and has over 16 years of professional experience working with agricultural families in the areas of family life, mental health, disability and dislocation from agriculture.
Dr. Peterson believes that Texas AgrAbility gives agricultural producers, their family members and employees with disabilities and chronic health conditions opportunities to remain in production agriculture by connecting, assisting and empowering families to education and resources.
Dr. Cheryl Grenwelge is an Assistant Professor with Texas AgrLife Extension. This position includes dual responsibilities between Texas AgrLife Extension and The Center on Disability and Development at Texas & M University. Dr. Grenwelge received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University May, 2010.
She has a B.S. in Special Education and a M.Ed. in Education with an emphasis on Educational Diagnostics and Texas Certification. She has teacher certifications in Special Education K-12, Elementary Education 1-8, and English as a Second Language. Previous to working with Texas A&M University, she was lead teacher at a large transition center at the secondary level.
Dr. Grenwelge is the disability specialist for the Texas AgrAbility project. Her expertise in the disability field and personal background in agriculture gives her a distinct level of expertise in working with the individuals in the field of agriculture who have acquired a disabling condition. She works closely with the farmer/rancher and service agencies. These efforts are directed at assisting the individual who has acquired a disabling condition in the agriculture field to return to their chosen profession.
Dr. Doug Kingman completed his bachelors of Science from the Department of Agriculture Engineering at Texas A&M University in 1990. In 1998, he obtained a Masters of Agricultural Education from Texas A&M before pursuing a Master of Science at Purdue University in 1999. In 2002, Dr. Kingman was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue while teaching at Illinois State University. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Systems Management in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Kingman’s involvement with AgrAbility began in 1998 at Purdue University. While at Purdue he studied under the supervision of Dr. Bill Field, the founder of AgrAbility. He has been fortunate to be involved with many aspects of the program, including farm assessments, assistive technology development, testing, evaluating, building partner relationships and client recruitment. Currently Dr. Kingman is the Farm Assessment Coordinator for the Texas AgrAbility Project. His expertise allows him to evaluate the farm/ranch equipment and make recommendations that would improve the farmer/rancher’s ability to continue in their occupation to their fullest capacity.
In 2013, Mrs. Erin Kimbrough earned her B.S. degree in agriculture science from Texas A&M University. Her degree focus was on agriculture education. She completed her student teaching at College Station Independent School District, College Station, TX.
Mrs. Kimbrough’s work with Texas AgrAbility began in 2012. She has worked with serving AgrAbility client’s by facilitating cooperation with local FFA chapters. She also coordinates the day-to-day educational activities and the case management for Texas AgrAbility project and has presented the AgrAbility program to agriculture producers around the state. Erin has coordinated and presented our agriculture workshops for military veterans throughout Texas. Mrs. Kimbrough works closely with agriculture agencies to meet the needs of our clients. Her knowledge in agriculture production, livestock management, risk management, disability issues, and funding sources available for agriculture producers provides unique insight into the day-to-day operations of agriculture enterprises. She values working on the AgrAbility team because she says that there is no greater service she can provide than to keep or return farmers/ranchers to the life that they love.
In 2016, Ms. Makenzie McLaurin completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Agricultural Leadership and Development from Texas A&M University. Her degree emphasis was on leadership development, communications, and event management. She is also a certified Professional Event Manager.
Makenzie’s background is in production agriculture, where she grew up raising Beefmaster cattle in East Texas. She has served as an intern with the Texas AgrAbility Project as well as a mentor and instructor in a training program for individuals with disabilities. Living with a disability herself, she believes that education and support for individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions is imperative in production agriculture.
In her role with the Texas AgrAbility Project, she contributes her expertise by developing relationships with partners, developing educational programs and events, and facilitating relationships with clients. She also assists with farm and ranch assessments and client referrals and recommendations.
In 2006, Mrs. Miranda Ferfuson received her bachelors of science in biology from Texas A&M University. In 2011, she recieved her masters of occupational therapy from The University of Texas Medical Branch. As an occupational therapist, Mrs. Ferguson is currently working for Easter Seals East Texas.
Occupational therapists focus on assisting the clients that they serve to engage in meaningful daily activities despite the impairments or limitations that the client faces. Mrs. Ferguson values working with the AgrAbility team because their purpose is to assist individuals in the agriculture community to continue in their desired occupation of farming despite their disability. She contributes her expertise by providing information about the farmer/rancher’s disability to the team, completing in-home assessments, assisting in farm/ranch assessments, assisting in identifying equipment adaptations will improve functional performance of the individual, assisting with writing up reports, providing medical reasons/justifications for equipment needs, marketing to medical community, and assisting in training new assessment team members.
BJ Leggett completed his B.S. degree in 2011 in Agricultural Leadership and Development at Texas A&M. While in school, he was employed at the Veteran Services Office and is deeply involved with the VA process for educational and medical benefits. He is currently working on his M.S. in Agricultural Leadership.
He is an Army veteran that served from 2004-09 and was a combat medic with the 101st Airborne at Ft. Campbell, Ky. He was deployed to Iraq for the Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-06 stationed at FOB Rustimyiah.
BJ began as a Program Assistant for Battle Ground to Breaking Ground in 2016. He grew up in agriculture, on a small ranch in central Texas and loves the agricultural community. This program merges two of his passions by helping increase the farmer/rancher population in Texas, all while helping returning veterans. His duties include individualizing education plans, educational planning, assisting participants in registering/ applying for the program, as well as raising awareness for the program statewide.