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National Black Farmers Association honors AgrAbility

Chuck BaldwinAgrAbility’s vision is to enhance the quality of life for agricultural workers with a wide range of disabilities from arthritis and back impairments to spinal cord injuries, amputations and behavioral health issues. Approximately 19 percent of active farm operators are no longer able to perform essential tasks due to a disability. AgrAbility works to ensure that farmers have the resources and tools they need to succeed, and Indiana’s program is based at Purdue.

AgrAbility recently received the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the valued support it provides to black farmers with disabilities. Chuck Baldwin (pictured here), special populations outreach coordinator for AgrAbility, described the relationship as “one of mutual respect and appreciation for the efforts of each organization to better the quality of life for agricultural workers and their families.”

Purdue has supported farmers with disabilities since 1979, when the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering joined forces with Purdue Extension to develop the Breaking New Ground program for this underserved community. Eleven years later, Congress created AgrAbility and appointed Breaking New Ground to lead the Indiana AgrAbility Project.

AgrAbility promotes the NBFA’s work by participating in its annual conference and AgrAbility workshops for 1890 Land-Grant institutions, a network of historically black colleges and universities. “The success AgrAbility has had in serving those with disabilities among these populations speaks well of Purdue’s commitment to foster equality and inclusion in agriculture,” Baldwin says.