Farming is dangerous work. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 120,000 farm related injuries occur each year. Thanks to the AgrAbility Project, assistance is available to anyone working in the field of agriculture with a disability. Services provided include on-site visits, assessments, training, and technical assistance. Assistive technology, such as extra steps and handholds for a tractor, is also made available.
Who qualifies for the program? The AgrAbility Project helps anyone who suffers from physical, cognitive, or illness-related disabilities. Some of these include cerebral palsy, arthritis, hearing impairment, back injury, diabetes, visual impairment, and cancer. 27 states have their own State Projects with the same 3 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.
Indiana’s state project operates under the Breaking New Ground Outreach Program (BNG). The BNG staff spread awareness of their programs by exhibiting at health fairs, field days, and machinery shows. They have a Rural Assistive Technology Demonstration Van fully equipped with adaptive aids for improving independence, support group meetings, and more. To get in touch with the BNG program, call (800) 825-4264 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.