Wisconsin AgrAbility the most active in US

MADISON

The $180,000 federal grant that funds AgrAbility of Wisconsin has been renewed after six months of waiting.

“Receiving this grant that is shared between Easter Seals of Wisconsin and UW-Extension means that by the end of this grant cycle, we will have completed 28 years of helping disabled farmers remain in farming,” Richard Straub, AgrAbility director, told the Advisory Council last week in Madison.

“We have had a very active and productive program with a string of successes in the 23 years we have been around,” he added.

He and Hannah Gerbitz, outreach specialist for AgrAbility of Wisconsin, outlined those successes and provided statistics about the clientele they have helped and continue to help.

AgrAbility is a grant funded-program that is a partnership between Easter Seals Wisconsin and UW-Extension to provide resources and ideas to any type of farmer with any type of limitation or disability.

The Advisory Council helps promote the project and offer suggestions. It is also a helpful networking group with contacts and ideas that help the organization be even more successful.

During the 2010-14 reporting period, AgrAbility served 1,732 farmers with disabilities. Most of the clients served were employed full time as the owner/operator of a farm and most were male.

The three most common primary types of agricultural operations are dairy, livestock and field/grain operations. The leading primary disabilities were joint injuries, followed by back injuries, arthritis and orthopedic injuries. Other conditions often related to aging populations of farmers include diabetes, hearing impairments, visual impairments and heart disease.

AgrAbility is able to help farmers by sending Easter Seals FARM Program Rural Rehabilitation Specialists to evaluate the farm and then make the recommendations to the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Continue reading at the Wisconsin State Farmer.