Nov 10, 2021
NIFA funds research to address those dealing with disabilities

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced Nov. 10 an initial funding investment of more than $1.2 million with a total investment of more than $5 million over four years through USDA’s AgrAbility Program to help America’s farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers with disabilities remain productive and successful.

“For more than 30 years, the AgrAbility program has provided comprehensive support to producers with disabilities and their families  to ensure they have access to the training, technologies and networks necessary to continue working in their chosen profession of agriculture,” NIFA Director Carrie Castille said in a news release. “To support the specialized needs of the AgrAbility community, the program builds service capacity at the state, regional and national levels through technical assistance, education and networking.”

The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families and their communities continue to succeed in the agricultural sector. Success may be defined by gainful employment in production agriculture or a related occupation; access to appropriate assistive technology needed for work and daily living activities; evidence-based information related to the treatment and rehabilitation of disabling conditions; and targeted support for family caregivers of AgrAbility customers.

Learn more about the National AgrAbility Project (NAP).

The five projects include:

  • Purdue University’s Breaking New Ground Resource Center will build on more than 40 years of experience working with farmers, ranchers, other agricultural workers and their families to continue hosting the NAP and fulfilling its mandated mission. ($534,839)
  • Purdue University’s Indiana AgrAbility Project will continue to improve the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their families who are impacted by disability so that they and their communities continue to succeed and prosper, through education, networking, assistance and marketing. ($183,840)
  • Ohio State University’s Ohio AgrAbility Project is a collaborative effort between Ohio State University Extension, Easter Seals Serving Greater Cincinnati and expanding to include Central State University. It promotes independence through vocational rehabilitation and establishes service capacity to meet the needs of Ohio agriculturalists who have experienced a disabling injury. ($183,840)
  •  Pennsylvania State University’s AgrAbility PA is a partnership between Pennsylvania State University and UCP Central PA. Through networking and partnerships, AgrAbility will engage in a strategic four-year plan to provide direct services for farmers with disabilities and build program capacity while increasing outcomes and impacts through direct assistance, education, networking and marketing. ($183,840) 
  • Per the USDA, more than 200,000 farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers acquire occupational injuries each year that limit their ability to perform essential work tasks. University of Tennessee Extension will focus on farm safety education efforts and partnerships with rehabilitation, health and agricultural professionals to accommodate at least 50 farmers with disabilities annually so they can continue to farm. ($183,840)

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice.

In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.

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