MANHATTAN, Kan. — Each year, more than 5,000 Kansas farmers and agricultural workers sustain injuries or acquire a health condition that affects their ability to work.
Thanks to a new round of federal grant funding, the Kansas AgrAbility Project will continue to be a resource for Kansas farmers and ranchers dealing with disabilities and chronic illness.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently awarded Kansas AgrAbility a new, four-year $720,000 grant to extend operations until at least 2022. USDA-NIFA’s competitive grant funds projects in 20 states.
Since receiving its first grant in 2002, Kansas AgrAbility has focused on directly assisting Kansas farmers, farm employees and farm family members who have become injured or have an activity-limiting health condition/limitation to remain actively engaged in production agriculture for as long as they choose.
The project is a partnership between K-State University Research and Extension, Southeast Kansas Independent Living in Parsons, and the University of Kansas Lifespan Institute.
Kansas AgrAbility Agriculture Assistive Technology Specialists combine their knowledge of agriculture with disability expertise to provide specialized services needed to safely accommodate disabilities in everyday farm and ranch operations. These services cover the entire state of Kansas and include collaboration with extension educators, disability experts, rural professionals and volunteers in offering an array of services.
Kansas AgrAbility actively promotes education and networking among rural and disability-service organizations to increase capacity for serving farmers with disabilities and to promote understanding around challenges faced by those farmers in an effort to break down service barriers and promote successful outcomes.
AgrAbility also provides educational resources to avoid primary and secondary injuries on the farm by recommending safe practices and tools to minimize back and joint injuries.
The grant is administered in Kansas State University’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering by Project Director John Slocombe and Project Coordinator Tawnie Larson.