The National AgrAbility Project
August 3, 2009
As Aroostook and Washington Counties have a long tradition in agriculture, this tip is focused on resources to assist the farming community with employment of people with disabilities. The following tip was copied from the following AgrAbility web site at http://www.agrabilityproject.org/purpose.cfm .
The AgrAbility Project was created to assist people with disabilities employed in agriculture. The project links the Cooperative Extension Service at a land-grant university with a private nonprofit disability service organization to provide practical education and assistance that promotes independence in agricultural production and rural living. The AgrAbility Project assists people involved in production agriculture who work both on small and large operations.
The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES),an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers the AgrAbility Project. While the USDA administers the AgrAbility Project, the Project funds both a National AgrAbility Project and several State AgrAbility Projects.
The National AgrAbility Project
In partnership, the National AgrAbility Project Staff at the University of Wisconsin – Extension, Cooperative Extension Biological Systems Engineering Department (866-259-6280) and Easter Seals (800-914-4424) provide training, technical assistance, and information on available resources to the State AgrAbility Project staffs. The State AgrAbility staff provide training, site visits, on-farm assessments, technical assistance, and other information directly to the farmer or rancher with a disability. Please refer to each State AgrAbility Project web page for more detailed information about their State AgrAbility Project.
As of March 2007, there were 21 state and regional AgrAbility projects, each project having the same 3 USDA/CSREES grant objectives:
• Provide education to build service capacity with health, farm and government service providers on accommodating disabilities and preventing secondary injuries.
• Expand program capacity through networking activities of mutually sharing information and resources with non AgrAbility individuals and organizations.
• Provide farmers with disabilities consultative services and technical assistance that increases the likelihood the farmer can continue to farm successfully; such as, modifying or adapting the agricultural operation, buildings, equipment, and/or tools.
The national staff will also provide direct technical consultation to consumers, health and rehabilitation professionals and other service providers on how to accommodate disabilities in production agriculture. For example, staff can assist fabricators with designing hand controls for a tractor. In addition, national staff can provide members of other national and international agricultural and health-related organizations with information and resources to help farmers and ranchers with disabilities.
Those Eligible for Services
Those eligible for AgrAbility services may have any type of disability – physical, cognitive, or illness-related, for example:
• back injury
• blindness or vision impairment
• cardiac problem
• cerebral palsy
• cognitive impairment
• deafness or hearing impairment
• mental illness
• multiple sclerosis
• muscular dystrophy
• post-polio syndrome
• respiratory problem
• spinal cord injury
• traumatic brain injury
Who should you contact?
If you are interested in AgrAbility Project services (e.g., training, site visit, on-farm assessments, technical assistance, and other information working directly with the farmer or rancher), please contact your State AgrAbility staff. If your state does not have an AgrAbility Project, or if you have general questions about AgrAbility, please contact the National Project staff through either the University of Wisconsin toll free number (866-259-6280), or the National Easter Seals toll free number (800-914-4424). You can also contact the National Project staff using the Contact Us link on this page, or email an AgrAbility Project staff member using their email address which is provided on the State Projects web page.
National AgrAbility Staff
For a complete listing of the National AgrAbility staff, please jump to the State Projects web page, and then page down to the National Project.
State AgrAbility Projects and Staff
For a complete listing of the State AgrAbility Projects and state staff, please jump to the State Projects web page. The State Projects web page has a map of the United States at the top. The map shows each state with an AgrAbility Project or Affiliate Project, highlighted with color (shaded, if viewing on a black and white monitor). Directly below the map, each state with an AgrAbility or Affiliate Project also has a live link you can select. When you click within the map on a state with a Project or select a live link, you will jump down the web page directly to that State or Affiliate Project for more information. Affiliate Projects are perhaps best described as projects which once had AgrAbility funding, but are not currently being funded. Affiliate Project services might vary from state to state