AgrAbility Cut from USDA 2018 Budget

NOTE: see the newer post on the House Appropriations Committee recommendation to restore AgrAbility funding.


Over the past 25 years, USDA/NIFA has been able to support the AgrAbility Program as part of discretionary appropriations under the line item “AgrAbility/Farm Safety.” Since 2015, the line item has provided an annual sum of $4,601,000 to support both the National AgrAbility Project and as many as 22 state and regional projects, along with an allocation for the Farm Safety Youth Initiative. For the past five years, this funding has been included as part of the President’s budget. Prior to that time, or for approximately 20 years, the line item existed through the Farm Bill, but no funds were allocated to it in the President’s budget. During those years, funding for the program was included in the final federal budget through the actions of one or more senators or representatives.

We have now been able to review the USDA/NIFA 2018 Budget. The entire $4,601,000 has been eliminated. If this remains unchanged, there may not be any requests for applications for the 2018 fiscal year.

The following was provided in the budget as justification for the elimination of AgrAbility funding:

  1. A decrease of $4,601,000 to eliminate Farm Safety/AgrAbility and Youth Farm Safety Education and Certification ($4,601,000 available in 2017) as follows:

A decrease is proposed to direct funding to higher priority activities, and is consistent with the Administration’s policy to redirect available resources, as appropriate, from lower-priority areas to other science and technology activities. This program may be supported by other funding sources, including other NIFA programs.

The broad extension education goals of this relatively small program may be more effectively addressed through higher priority programs in this request. This would allow for greater focus on national priorities, and efficiency in program management and implementation.

As project director for the NAP, I thought this information would be helpful in developing a response.

William E. Field, Professor, Ed.D.
National AgrAbility Director
Purdue University