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January 2009

National AgrAbility Project

The National AgrAbility Project is migrating THE TOOLBOX: Agricultural Tools, Equipment, Machinery, and Buildings for Farmers and Ranchers with Physical Disabilities to the Internet. Clifford Racz , the NAP Information Technology Specialist, is working to design and implement the web-database incorporating feedback gathered from surveys and focus groups over the past few years.  The final design will implement a user-friendly interface, intelligent search capabilities, and feedback surveys allowing for ease of use and improvement for many years to come.  Product/idea suggestions are welcome from all AgrAbility staff for adding to the database, thus improving this resource for all users. Contact Cliff at

The NAP represented AgrAbility at the National FFA Convention in Convention attendee using Life Essentials liftIndianapolis this fall, as Breaking New Ground was recognized for 20 years as an FFA Career Show exhibitor. The total attendance of 54,731 ensured that thousands of FFA members and advisors were exposed to the Conference attendees using the tug of war exhibitAgrAbility message. Included in the display were BNG's accessible tractor with Life Essentials lift and a Tug of War with Grain exhibit that interactively conveys the dangers of flowing grain. Various NAP staff members staffed the booth, including farmer liaison Ed Bell, pictured here giving an FFA member a lift.

Three NAP staff members were authors on a recently published Journal of Agromedicine paper on the estimated prevalence of disability in U.S. agriculture. Project Engineer Gail Deboy, Project Manager Paul Jones, and Project Director Bill Field joined with two other authors on "Estimating the Prevalence of Disability within the U.S. Farm and Ranch Population." Until now, estimates about the disability population in agriculture have ranged from around 250,000 to about 500,000. However, the Purdue study indicates that the total number of people with disabilities in the agricultural population is probably between 0.99 million and 2.26 million.

Each current AgrAbility staff member has been sent a copy of the article, and the NAP hopes that it will be both a source of useful information and a catalyst for discussion on the topic.