AgrAbility Honored with Spirit of ADA Award

MADISON, WI – AgrAbility of Wisconsin has been named a Silver Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) award winner through Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW). The award recognizes programs that are positively changing and improving the lives of people with disabilities in Wisconsin.

“Since the passage of the ADA 25 years ago, people with disabilities have enjoyed increased access to employment, education, recreation, and government services, which contributes to better communities for all,” said Daniel Idzikowski, Executive Director of Disability Rights Wisconsin. “At DRW we advocate every day so that all people with disabilities can exercise the full extent of their rights and pursue the greatest possible quality of life,” he noted.

ADA Awards

Hannah Barthels, AgrAbility Outreach Specialist, and Paul Leverenz, Easter Seals FARM Team Director

Through direct education and on-site assistance, the AgrAbility 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 Cooperative 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.

“AgrAbility of Wisconsin has been around for nearly 25 years now, and has maintained a 98 percent success rate in keeping farmers in the work that they love,” said Hannah Barthels, AgrAbility Outreach Specialist. “It’s an honor to be recognized outside of the agriculture community, and to know that our work is making such a difference.”

AgrAbility of Wisconsin has been so successful because of the strong partnership of UW Extension, UW-Madison Biological Systems Engineering and Easter Seals Wisconsin (also recognized as a silver award winner), as well as the commitment of Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to agricultural clientele, according to Dick Straub, the project director.
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 more than 2,600 farmers. In 2014-2015 alone, almost 600 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 agrability@wisc.edu.