The United States Department of Agriculture recently awarded a grant of $180,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to fund AgrAbility of Wisconsin.

Through direct education and on-site assistance, the project serves farmers throughout Wisconsin with injuries, disabilities, or illnesses that affect their ability to work safely and effectively. In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and Easter Seals Wisconsin, AgrAbility offers information on modification and adaptation of farm equipment and operations, farmstead accessibility, and assistive technology while connecting farmers with disabilities to the resources that allow them to continue their rural lifestyle. The new four-year grant was effective September 1, 2014.

“I am pleased that we have been successful in our refunding proposal for Wisconsin AgrAbility,” said Richard Straub, Program Director for AgrAbility. “Our program now will have been continuously funded for 28 years. We are proud to be one of the most productive programs nationally, serving over 40 percent of all farmers served by projects across the country. We have tremendously talented and dedicated staff that make this possible. I am proud of the service that we are able to provide to farmers with disabilities in order to help them maintain a productive life in a profession they love.”

AgrAbility of Wisconsin estimates the number of farmers with disabilities in Wisconsin to be as many as 38,740. To date, AgrAbility has worked with nearly 2,500 farmers, successfully allowing over 90 percent of them to continue farming. In 2013-2014 alone, over 500 farmers were served. Since Wisconsin agriculture generates $88.3 billion in economic activity and one out of every five jobs in the state, it is important that farming remains a viable occupation.

AgrAbility helps farmers and their families continue to farm safely and successfully. For more information contact the office at (608) 262-9336 or email aaw@mailplus.wisc.edu.