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USDA Awards AgrAbility Grants to Expand Access to Farming
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/07/2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture 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 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."

Among the grant recipients this year was the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which will receive $180,000.

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.

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.

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