AgrAbility provides education, assistance, and support to farmers with disabilities engaged in production agriculture, helping them and their families maintain optimal production and experience enhanced quality of life.
In the United States, farmers and ranchers rank second among laborers with disabilities from work-related injuries. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 200,000 farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers acquire occupational injuries each year that limit their ability to perform essential work tasks. In response to these statistics, the AgrAbility Project was created to help individuals with disabilities and their families who are engaged in production agriculture to maintain optimal production and experience enhanced quality of life.
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $540,000 in funding for state and regional projects that provide education, assistive technology and other support to current and prospective farmers and ranchers with disabilities. Since 1991, NIFA’s AgrAbility program has helped thousands of individuals with disabilities, including older farmers and veterans, achieve success in agricultural occupations.
AgrAbility at work. Three generations of the Beckman family have farmed the fields of northeastern Nebraska. However, that legacy almost ended for Eric Beckman in May 2007 when he rolled his pickup truck. The trauma he sustained included a high level spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down.
AgrAbility Helps Farmers, Ranchers Get Back to Work
Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers have one of the most dangerous occupations in America, suffering more fatal work injuries each year than most other professions. There were 570 fatalities in 2015 and even more debilitating injuries.