During the month of October, AgrAbility projects from 19 states will participate in the inaugural AgrAbility Virtual State Fair (VSF) online to provide resources and information for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers who are working in production agriculture with a disability, functional limitation or health condition. Currently housed in Purdue’s College of Agriculture’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, the National AgrAbility Project (NAP) supports all the state AgrAbility projects and provides limited services to farmers and ranchers in states without AgrAbility projects.
Beginning Oct. 1, “Cultivating Accessible Agriculture” will be the recurring theme as each day a different state highlights how it supports and serves this critically important population within that state’s agricultural employment landscape. Content will be posted on Facebook and Twitter @AgrAbility Virtual State Fair. States may also post to their state websites and other social media outlets.
“Across the country, state and county fairs, as well as other agricultural events, have been canceled or postponed due to concerns for safety and health amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Paul Jones, project manager of NAP. “A conversation started this summer: ‘What if we held an AgrAbility Virtual State Fair as a way to reach people who may be living and working with a disability in agriculture so that we can tell them we are here to support them and we want to see them succeed.’”
In addition to NAP, state AgrAbility projects that will participate in the AgrAbility VSF are Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The AgrAbility VSF will occur alongside the 75th annual observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Each October, NDEAM celebrates America’s workers with disabilities and reminds employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices.
Connect with AgrAbility on social media to learn the latest about assistive technologies, resources, safety tips, information, and more.
Facebook: @AgrAbility Virtual State Fair
First authorized in the 1990 Farm Bill (with funding appropriations beginning in 1991), AgrAbility is a grant-funded program through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). AgrAbility consists of the National AgrAbility Project (NAP) and State/Regional AgrAbility Projects (SRAPs). Each project must involve a collaboration between a land-grant university and at least one non-profit disability services organization. The National AgrAbility Project is hosted on Purdue University’s campus.