AgrAbility Organization

What is the AgrAbility Project?

AgrAbility increases the likelihood that individuals with disabilities and their families engaged in production agriculture (AgrAbility's customers) become more successful. The program supports cooperative projects in which state Cooperative Extension Services (CES) based at either 1862 or 1890 Land-Grant Universities subcontract to private, non-profit disability organizations. Measures of success may include improvements in customers' financial stability or access to life activities and in the capacity of the states and regions to deliver services this population requires in a timely and satisfying manner.

Can I contribute financially to the work of the AgrAbility Program?

Yes, thank you for considering making a contribution.

The host site for each state and regional AgrAbility project and their non-profit disability organization partners are able to accept contributions to enhance and expand the efforts of AgrAbility. These contributions can be designated for a wide variety of services such as peer support activities, establishing equipment loan programs, professional development, scholarships for clients to attend the National AgrAbility Training Workshop, and public awareness activities. Contributions are generally tax deductible and receipts will be provided. In some cases these contributions may provide tax savings. Check with your tax preparer for the most advantageous method of giving.

How do I contact the National AgrAbility Project?

Via telephone at 1-800-825-4BNG (4264) or on the web at

How does AgrAbility work with the local Cooperative Extension Office?

As part of the nationwide system of Cooperative Extension, AgrAbility projects work closely with local and state Extension staff to provide the best evidence-based resources for addressing the complex issues of farming with a disability. Both local and university-based Extension specialists are tapped for assistance when the problems exceed the expertise of AgrAbility staff. Each county Extension office in the U.S. has been provided with basic AgrAbility-related resources. Feel free to contact the Extension office for additional information. Extension staff is there to serve you.

What federal agency oversees the AgrAbility Project?

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

What is a state and/or regional AgrAbility project?

State and Regional AgrAbility Projects (SRAPs) operate within a geographic area defined on the basis of counties, states, or both. SRAPs may function independently of each other. States with insufficient potential clientele to merit individual AgrAbility projects may submit regional, multi-state proposals. At a minimum, the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) primary applicant must subcontract to one private, non-profit disability organization. Applicants proposing to serve remote or diverse potential customer populations may wish to form partnerships that include one or more land-grant institutions, non-land-grant institutions, Hispanic-serving institutions, or additional, private, non-profit disability organizations effectively serve the entire qualifying population.

What is the National AgrAbility Project?

The National AgrAbility Project (NAP) has a dual mission. The NAP provides limited, on-demand services in geographic areas without funded State and Regional AgrAbility Projects (SRAPs). But more significant to the success of the program, the NAP helps funded SRAPs and unfunded affiliated AgrAbility projects become more successful at meeting their objectives. The NAP typically produces or recommends education materials, forums, networking tactics, assistance protocols, and marketing products SRAPs adopt for their own use. The NAP connects all SRAPs by: moderating information sharing forums; identifying, promoting, and addressing opportunities and challenges for AgrAbility; recognizing and capitalizing on economies of scale; and evaluating the program's impacts annually.

What steps are being taken to ensure that the vision and mission of the National AgrAbility Project are being fulfilled?

The NAP work plan is largely shaped by the directives contained in the USDA 2008 Request for Applications (RFA). The RFA calls for the NAP to contribute towards meeting the AgrAbility vision of enabling a lifestyle of high quality for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families, and their communities will continue to succeed in rural America.
The RFA requires that the NAP address the following:

• Education for service providers and clients

• Networking among SRAPs and other stakeholders

• Provision of direct assistance to clients, especially those living in states not currently served by a SRAP

• National marketing to the client base and other rehabilitation providers

When was the AgrAbility Project started?

AgrAbility is authorized under the Smith-Lever Act of May 8, 1914 as amended, (7 U.S.C. 341 et seq.) and in Section 1680 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5933) as amended by Section 246 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 and Section 7122 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. Funds are appropriated by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-161), for farm safety under section 3(d) of the Smith-Lever Act.

Where is the National AgrAbility Project located?

Purdue University and the Breaking New Ground Resource Center, located in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering are honored to provide the current home for the National AgrAbility Project. For nearly three decades Purdue has been providing services to farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their families impacted by disability. This has included direct services such as on-site assessments, toll-free helpline, research related to disability and agriculture, development of evidence-based resources for use by consumers and rehabilitation professionals, public awareness activities, professional development opportunities, and development and documentation of assistive technology appropriate for agricultural workplaces. Being a partner with the USDA AgrAbility Program to host the National AgrAbility Project (NAP) provides a wonderful opportunity to expand and enhance these activities through working directly with all of the state and regional AgrAbility projects. In addition, being a host for the National AgrAbility Project provides added opportunities to reach out to over half the states that currently do not have AgrAbility projects through NAP's partnerships with Goodwill International, The Arthritis Foundation and other organizations. Ultimately, the goal is to provide farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their family members with disabilities nationwide the opportunity, to achieve a lifestyle of high quality and satisfaction.

Who is the primary contact at USDA-NIFA for information on the AgrAbility Project?

Aida Balsano, National Program Leader
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA
Waterfront Centre
800 9th Street, SW
Room 4433
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 720-4436
Fax: (202) 720-9366

Who provides leadership for the National AgrAbility Project?

Professor William E. Field, Ed.D.
National AgrAbility Project
Purdue University
Breaking New Ground Resource Center
225 S University St
West Lafayette IN 47907-2093
Phone: 765-494-1191
Fax: 765-496-1356
Paul Jones, Project Manager
National AgrAbility Project
Purdue University
Breaking New Ground Resource Center
225 S. University St.
West Lafayette IN 47907-2093
Phone: 765-494-1221
Fax: 765-496-1356

Why was the AgrAbility Program started?

In the late 1980s it became apparent that farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their families impacted by disability were not fully benefiting from the many advances that were taking place in the field of rehabilitation and the application of assistive technology to enhance the independence of persons with disabilities. It was believed that this need could be addressed by a multi-agency approach utilizing the information dissemination strengths of the Cooperative Extension Service and the rehabilitation expertise of non-profit disability organizations such as Easter Seals, Goodwill Industries, and the Arthritis Foundation.