AgrAbility project helping Michigan agriculture

Is injury, illness or arthritis impacting your farming or ranching?

You might think of farms as peaceful settings. Actually, farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Farming has many health and safety hazards, including:

  • 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

Farming accidents are, unfortunately, too common and the physical labor involved in agriculture can result in a number of disabilities that can restrict the farmer’s ability to continue their livelihood.

But there are technologies and best management practices that can allow these individuals to continue their farming operations.

Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with Michigan Easter Seals, was recently granted a $720,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture to provide education, networking, assistance and marketing to facilitate services to Michigan farm operators and farm workers with disabilities. The principal investigators, Ken Rosenman, physician in the MSU College of Human Medicine and I will be working closely with Ned Stoller, the Michigan Easter Seals AgrAbility Coordinator. This education and assistance will assist farm operations to adjust to disabling conditions such as arthritis, chronic back pain, joint injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, hearing loss and any other condition that may limit a farmer’s ability to work.

Assistance will be provided via phone, email and by site visits to farms. Design and construction of equipment to allow farmers with disability to continue to work will be provided as well as education about preventing injuries and health impacts.

Marketing will be done by direct mailing to injured farmers, Extension outreach, staffing booths at conferences, distribution of brochures at partner's locations and through articles in partners' newsletters.

For further information about these services, please contact us at

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