Michigan State University Extension and Easter Seals Michigan have received a four-year, $720,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture AgrAbility program to assist farm operators and workers with disabilities. Like any job, farming has its dangers including many health and safety hazards, such as:
- Chemicals and pesticides
- Machinery, tools and equipment that can be dangerous
- Hazardous areas, such as grain bins, silos and wells
- Livestock that can spread diseases or cause injuries
AgrAbility provides education, networking, assistance and marketing to facilitate services to Michigan farm operators and farm workers with disabilities. The project will provide education to not only farmers but also healthcare providers, farm equipment dealers and government service providers. The overall aim is to help agricultural workers with disabilities overcome challenges and work efficiently in their farming and ranching careers.
“MSU Extension is an organization that continues to look for new ways to include every member of the public through groundbreaking research and communication,” said Steve Lovejoy, MSU Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. “Through this AgrAbility grant, MSU Extension, along with the MSU College of Human Medicine and Michigan Easter Seals, will be able to help keep farmers who are disabled employed and strengthen the Michigan farming community that so many thrive in and rely on.”
This is a fantastic opportunity to work with Easter Seals Michigan to continue this mission, and find new ways to make agriculture accessible.