USDA announces $540,000 to support people with disabilities in agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $540,000 in available funding for State and regional projects that provide education, assistive technology and other support to current and prospective farmers and ranchers with disabilities. Since 1991, NIFA's AgrAbility program has helped thousands of individuals with disabilities, including older farmers and Veterans, achieve success in agricultural occupations.

"Whether you are an experienced farmer facing mobility issues or a Veteran starting a new career in agriculture, AgrAbility works with the Cooperative Extension System and nonprofit disability organizations to open doors to people with disabilities," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "The AgrAbility network gives health, farm and government service providers tools to provide greater access to the agricultural profession."

This funding opportunity will support the development of new State and regional AgrAbility Projects that help providers build their capacity to serve people with disabilities. Projects also directly provide assistance to people with disabilities. Eligible projects focus on the following:

Education - Projects help...

Assistive technology to help families farm

The Ohio AgrAbility Program has a mission to promote independence for people in agriculture who want to continue to farm after experiencing a disabling condition. The program’s goal is to provide education, resources and technical assistance to those individuals and their families so they may continue to do what they love to do, farm.

Injuries are not limited to those that occur while working on the farm. Some injuries happen away from the property or are a result of an illness. Regardless of an injury, chronic arthritis, short- or long-term surgery impairments, or other health-related problems, the Ohio AgrAbility program can assist production agricultural workers in many situations.

This program conducts on-site assessments for the worker to determine how he or she performs their job and helps find solutions that will meet their needs. Often those solutions involve some form of assistive technology. Assistive technology includes any kind of device, modification, or service that will help a person with a disabling condition work and live more independently. It may be low or high tech, expensive or inexpensive. Ultimately it helps the person complete a job that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.

Polk Symposium on Special Education

This is an annual conference brings resources and workshops to families in Polk County.  

Workshop topic include behavior supports, IEP, and guardianship, pathways to diplomas, APD, and transition services to work.

Lakeland High School
726 Hollingsworth Road
Lakeland, FL

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017
8:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Click here to download the flyer.


Autism Pensacola providing safety training for public

Autism Pensacola is partnering with the Pensacola Police Department to present a free first-responder autism training Feb. 6-8. The five-hour training, held at the PPD station at 711 Hayne Street, is offered over three days as a way to maximize the opportunities for attendance.

The day-long training is geared toward law enforcement, firefighters, nurses, EMTs, social workers, teachers and those who want to learn more about autism and ways to make our community safer.

The guest speakers will include Capt. Bill Cannata and Sgt. Jimmy Donohoe.

Donohoe of the Pensacola Police Department is the creator of the Take Me Home Program, which is used nationwide. Cannata is a 34-year veteran of the Massachusetts fire service. Now retired, he is the program director of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition.

Both sit on the Autism Society of America’s Safe & Sound Task Force and are also fathers with children on the autism spectrum.

Registration is required by Feb. 2 and is available 

Jeff Atwater: Time to have the money talk

Dear Fellow Floridians:

If you sat down and thought about it, can you remember who taught you about money and how it works in our society? If you can, thank that person because they taught you one of the most important lessons of your life. To understand money is the first step in making smart financial decisions, and it’s a skill everyone deserves to have, regardless of their age, income or ability.

Knowing that many individuals with developmental disabilities learn differently, we saw a need for financial education tailored toward helping these Floridians gain the confidence and skills they need to live more independently. We set out to fill that need and last year, we launched an interactive learning program called “My Money.”

Using interactive games, activities and educational videos, My Money allows participants to learn and practice financial skills at their own pace. Parents and other loved ones can also use the program to learn how they can help their children solidify and apply these new skills.

Because these skills are crucial to an individual’s long-term financial success, we worked with Florida’s financial institutions to make sure information about the program is displayed in banks...