Purdue University’s Agricultural and Biological Engineering AgrAbility Program has received $2.1 million in funding for the National AgrAbility Project. In addition, the university has received $720,000 for the Indiana version of the project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Purdue says the National AgrAbility Project reaches out to farmers and ranchers who live with a disability. The Indiana AgrAbility grant will provide direct on-farm assessments, working alongside other agencies, to provide specific technology to farmers who need it.
Paul Jones, project manager for the national project and education and resource specialist for the Indiana project, said the funding will support the project through 2025. Purdue says its Breaking New Ground Resource Center will be the lead agency for the grants.
“Having USDA/NIFA award both the National and the Indiana AgrAbility Project grants to Purdue in the same year is a strong indication that the staff behind these proposals is on the right track when it comes to the vision and work plan for AgrAbility that they have projected,” said Chuck Baldwin, Indiana AgrAbility project manager.
According to the university, stress-related impairments have become more of a focus for AgrAbility.
“Mental health is becoming an increasingly critical area,” Jones said. “We used to focus primarily on physical issues — disabilities, spinal cord injuries, amputations, arthritis and so on — but now there needs to be a greater focus on stress-related impairments.”
The National AgrAbility Project will support other state projects around the country and offer some services to farmers in states without an AgrAbility project.