During the month of October, AgrAbility projects from some 20 states nationwide will join together to participate in an AgrAbility Virtual State Fair (AgrAbility VSF) online to provide resources and information to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers who are working in production agriculture with a disability, functional limitation, or health condition.
Beginning Oct. 1 , “Cultivating Accessible Agriculture” will be the recurring theme as each day a different state will highlight how it supports and serves this critically important population within that state’s agricultural employment landscape. Content will be posted on Facebook @AgrAbility Virtual State Fair and on Twitter @AgrAbilityVSF. States may post additionally to their state websites and other social media outlets. Learn more about the event at agrability.org/vsf .
“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 amidst the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic,” said Paul Jones, Project Manager for the National AgrAbility Project (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 additional to NAP, state projects that will participate in the AgrAbility VSF include: 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 (ADA). Each October, NDEAM celebrates America’s workers with disabilities and reminds employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices.
“Those of us that work for AgrAbility projects have the experience of seeing the impact that a person with a disability makes in their workplace – the farmers, ranchers, and workers we’ve met have a will and a heart like no other,” said Jones.
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Facebook: AgrAbility Virtual State Fair
First authorized in the 1990 Farm Bill (with funding appropriations beginning in 1991), AgrAbility is a grant-funded project through the United States Department of Agriculture and the 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.
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