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USDA grants will help farmers with disabilities

Agriculture.com Staff 06/01/2006 @ 12:53pm

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner announced this week that USDA is awarding $3.7 million in grants to 21 states to assist farmers with disabilities through the AgrAbility program.

"AgrAbility increases the opportunity for farmers with disabilities and their families to become involved in agriculture," Conner said. "The goal of the program is to enhance their quality of life and provide them with the tools they need to be successful."

USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) administers the funds to land-grant universities that have joined with non-profit 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.

Since initial funding in 1991, CSREES has awarded grants to more than 30 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. The typical award provides up to $200,000 per year for up to four years to qualifying universities.

In addition to the state project grants, one national grant provides additional support for a National AgrAbility Project involving the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Easter Seals, Inc. These national partners joined to provide technical assistance and professional training for the state projects, produce resource materials, and distribute information related to the project.

For more information, visit www.agrabilityproject.org.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner announced this week that USDA is awarding $3.7 million in grants to 21 states to assist farmers with disabilities through the AgrAbility program.

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