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* AgrAbility

April 19, 2007

CD makes information accessible to farmers with disabilities

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Farmers and ranchers with disabilities, such as an amputation, paralysis, arthritis or visual impairment, have an enhanced toolbox available to help improve managing and maintaining the farm.

"The Toolbox" CD, the fifth edition of an assistive technology resource for farmers and ranchers with disabilities from Purdue University's Breaking New Ground Resource Center, was recently released.

More than half a million people with disabilities are actively involved in production agriculture, said Paul Jones, Purdue's Breaking New Ground program manager. In addition, with the average age of an American farmer climbing above 55, more farmers will find some tasks difficult to complete.

"The Toolbox" CD catalogs more than 770 assistive technology products that can make agriculture more accessible for individuals with physical limitations. Products are presented in a fact sheet format with added features that include video clips, color photographs and hyperlinks to contact information for product suppliers.

Thanks to NEC Foundation of America, an organization committed to advancing assistive technology for people with disabilities, the CD is available for viewing at every county Extension office in the United States.

"Many agricultural workers with disabilities - and the professionals who serve them - are simply unaware of the help that is available," Jones said. "By making information available to more communities, this initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of farmers and ranchers with disabilities."

Main categories of "The Toolbox" include tractors and self-propelled equipment, agriculture-related enterprises, safety and health, livestock handling and housing, trucks and off-road vehicles, outdoor mobility, Plowshares technical reports, crop and materials handling and storage, shops and shop tools, and more.

The CD's navigation is made easy through a system of interlinked fact sheets, bookmarks and indexes. Bonus features include the Barn Builders Peer Support Network Directory, Breaking New Ground's Worksite Assessment Tool and a summary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's AgrAbility Program.

The CD also is available for purchase by calling Breaking New Ground at (800) 825-4264. The cost is $25 for the CD or $80 for a print version, which also includes the CD.

For more information, visit the Toolbox Web site at http://www.bngtoolbox.info.

Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050, douglajk@purdue.edu

Source: Paul Jones, (765) 494-1221, jonesp@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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