USDA Awards 21 AgrAbility Grants to Expand Access to Farming for Americans With Disabilities
WASHINGTON – Oct. 31, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced 21 grants distributed to land-grant universities to assist the growing population of farmers and ranchers living with a disability and help these farmers continue to be active in production agriculture. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants, totaling $4.1 million, through the AgrAbility Program.
“As we recognize Disability Employment Awareness Month, these grants could not come at a more appropriate time,” said NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Everyone involved in agriculture deserves and should have access to the latest farm safety techniques and most effective, assistive technology solutions. This community is one that thrives on inclusiveness, open communication, and innovation. By creating ways for farmers and ranchers with disabilities to remain employed and profitable, we are ensuring that our rural communities continue to thrive and lead.”
Farmers and ranchers with severe illnesses or disabilities often experience changes in productivity and increased chance of secondary injury. The AgrAbility program enhances quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities by helping them overcome barriers to continuing their chosen professions in agriculture.
In FY 2014, NIFA’s AgrAbility Program provided support for 14 new and 6 established state-level projects eligible for continuation. It also provided the National AgrAbility Project at Purdue University with an additional, one-year infusion of funds to help it better serve disabled veterans who are currently engaged in or pursuing agriculture production-related employment. Purdue aims to increase the participation of 1890 land-grant institutions in furthering the mission of the AgrAbility Program by serving farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers affected by disability, including farmers and ranchers of color.
NIFA awarded the funds to eligible land-grant universities that have partnered with nonprofit disability organizations to address the specialized needs of these American farmers and ranchers. AgrAbility projects deliver educational programs that advance farmers’ and health professionals’ knowledge in the area of farm safety; adapt new technologies for farmers with disabilities; provide direct service to agricultural workers; and encourage networking to facilities information sharing with individuals and organizations not employed by AgrAbility. Past projects have improved farmers’ access to life activities, financial stability, and the ability of states and regions to deliver timely services to those with disabilities.
Since initial funding in 1991, 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. The typical award provides up to $180,000 per year for up to four years to qualifying universities.
The National AgrAbility Project is jointly directed by Purdue University and Goodwill Industries. These national partners provide technical assistance and professional training for the state projects, produce resource materials, and distribute information related to the AgrAbility program. For more information, visit www.agrability.org.
Fiscal Year 2014 grant recipients are:
- University of California, Davis, Calif., $180,000
- Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $180,000
- University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $180,000
- Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $180,000
- University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $180,000
- University of Maine, Orono, Maine, $174, 027
- Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $180,000
- University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., $180,000
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., $180,000
- North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C., $180,000
- Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $180,000
- Pennsylvania State University, State College, Penn., $180,000
- Purdue University (National AgrAbility Project), West Lafayette, Ind., $494,532
- Purdue University (Indiana AgrAbility Project), West Lafayette, Ind., $180,000
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $180,000
- Texas A&M, College Station, Texas, $180,000
- University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $180,000
- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., $180,000
- Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $180,000
- West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.V., $180,000
- University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $180,000
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.