USDA grants aid disabled farmers


USDA grants aid disabled farmers

West Virginia one of 24 states to receive AgrAbility grant.

WASHINGTON – More than $3.5 million in grants has been awarded to 24 states, including Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, for staffing and operating AgrAbility projects.

AgrAbility educates and assists farmers with disabilities through Extension programs in collaboration with disability service providers.

“These grants and the local programs they support help farmers with disabilities contribute to the agricultural community and economy,” said Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

Accommodation. Since initial funding in 1991, USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service has awarded grants to over 30 states resulting in on-farm assistance to over 10,000 farmers while educating thousands of professionals on how to accommodate disabilities in agriculture.

Eligible grant applicants include land grant universities with non-profit disability organization partners. The typical award provides $150,000 per year for up to four years.

Grants this year were awarded to:

· University of California, Davis;

· Colorado State University, Fort Collins;

· University of Delaware, Newark;

· Iowa State University, Ames;

· University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign;

· Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.;

· Kansas State University, Manhattan;

· University of Kentucky, Lexington;

· Michigan State University, East Lansing;

· University of Minnesota, Twin Cities;

· Mississippi State University;

· University of Missouri, Columbia;

· University of Nebraska, Lincoln;

· Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.;

· Oklahoma State University, Stillwater;

· Pennsylvania State University, University Park;

· South Dakota State University, Brookings;

· University of Tennessee, Knoxville;

· Texas A&M University, College Station;

· Utah State University, Logan;

· University of Vermont, Burlington;

· Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg;

· West Virginia University, Morgantown;

· University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Help, education. AgrAbility provides on-site technical assistance in adapting and using farm equipment and tools and on modifying farm operations and buildings.

The program also provides agriculture-based education to help prevent further injury and disability.

Modified for life

AgrAbility services include the following:

* Conduct an on-site farm to discuss tasks that are difficult for the person to complete because of their disability.

* Provide information on appropriate assisting technology, equipment, or modification that can enable the person to do the task independently and safely.

* Link farm families with potential funding sources as well as state and county services.

* Provide peer and caregiver information

* Conduct disability awareness activities for farm safety day camps, 4-H leaders, and other groups.

* Provide educational presentations for agricultural and health care professionals.

Get the details




* Bill Field, Purdue University


* Linda Fetzer, Penn State


* West Virginia AgrAbility Project



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