Program assists agricultural workers with disabilities
May 8, 2020
The garden and field planting season is approaching, and some growers may have physical limitations with planting.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s AgrAbility program provides workshops, assessments and technical assistance to minimize obstacles for farmers, ranchers, fishers and other agricultural workers with disabilities.
DeShana York coordinates the program in Alaska for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.
“We have resources that can help the average gardener, but the main goal is to help those whose livelihood is affected by a disability,” she said.
York said the program seeks to enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities, so they and their families can succeed. Extension energy specialist Art Nash, who teaches accessibility workshops for the program, said it assists individuals who work at any scale in the agriculture industry, as defined by USDA. That includes individuals who fish or participate in logging.
The range of covered disabilities includes everything from arthritis and back impairments to major disabilities such as spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries or amputations. The program offers free on-site assessments to identify barriers to completing tasks in the workplace and at home.
AgrAbility does not provide direct funding for assistive equipment but works with other agencies and funding sources to connect clients with resources. The program is offered in partnership with Assistive Technologies of Alaska.
For more information, contact DeShana York at email@example.com or 907-786-6330 or Art Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-322-2309.