The USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education & Extension Service announced Wednesday that Purdue University, in partnership with Goodwill Industries and the Arthritis Foundation of Indiana, will receive $2.2 million for the National AgrAbility Project, which helps thousands of disabled individuals overcome barriers to continuing their chosen professions in agriculture.
"Producers should have every opportunity to stay involved in agriculture, no matter what obstacles they face," said Gale Buchanan, USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics. "AgrAbility enhances the quality of life for farmers with disabilities and their families and provides them with the tools they need to be successful."
AgrAbility supports training for state and regional projects. AgrAbility has become one of rural America's most valuable and cost-effective resources, having provided on-farm assessments to more than 15,000 farmers and ranchers with disabilities since it was funded in 1991. CSREES administers funds to land-grant universities that have joined with nonprofit disability organizations to address the specialized needs of AgrAbility's customers. Projects include educating professionals on how to assist those with disabilities and directly training disabled agricultural workers. The program has improved customers' financial stability, access to life activities and the ability of states and regions to deliver timely services to those with disabilities.
Authorized under the 1990 farm bill, AgrAbility has fostered the growth of knowledge and expertise on how to accommodate disability in agriculture through public awareness, and training sessions for thousands of agricultural, rehabilitation and health professionals.