Partners & Funding In order to best serve Wisconsin farmers, the FARM Program works with a number of community partners.

About Our Partners

  • Easterseals Wisconsin partners with UW-Cooperative Extension to form AgrAbility of Wisconsin, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). AgrAbility supports case management for all farmers requesting service, outreach at farm shows, and Neighbor-to-Neighbor on-farm events. It also supports efforts to educate others about options to help farmers with disabilities stay in farming, including training programs for other AgrAbility staff, University of Wisconsin physical therapy and occupational classes. Subscribe to AgrAbility of Wisconsin’s newsletter.
  • Wisconsin’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) helps people with disabilities find or maintain employment. DVR is an important source of referrals to the FARM Program, as well as a recipient of referrals from AgrAbility. DVR determines the eligibility of farmers for state funding for assistive technology and other workplace adaptations. The FARM Program staff works with referred farmers to identify disability-related barriers to farm tasks, recommends assistive equipment or modifications, and develops a full report and collection of cost estimates for use by DVR. DVR makes final decisions about funding for equipment or modifications.
  • The FARM Program and AgrAbility of Wisconsin have recently secured a three year grant. This funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged (SDA) Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). The outreach grant will provide 100 current and new Wisconsin SDA farmers and veteran farmers with awareness of, increased access to, and participation in USDA programs and services during the three-year project period – beginning October 2019.
  • The National Farm Medicine Center partners with the FARM Program to exchange information about the medical side of a disability as it relates to the agricultural community. Farm Medicine Center staff offers guidance on outreach efforts and program services and participates in the FARM Program’s Advisory Council.
  • Rural Insurance Companies, part of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, provide the FARM Program with advice and assistance with outreach. They publish articles about the FARM Program and AgrAbility services in their promotional materials and support the program monetarily when able.
  • The FARM Program and AgrAbility of Wisconsin partner with DeLaval, providing a Farmer Assistance Program. As a dairy equipment dealer, DeLaval knows that tie-stall milking units can be cumbersome to navigate around the barn, and over time, repetitive movements from milking can lead to excessive wear on joints and back. They have offered solutions to make tie-stall milking more comfortable, efficient, and sustainable. More recently, they have begun offering a Promotion Agreement for AgrAbility clients.

Past Partners

  • From 2012-2018, Easterseals Wisconsin FARM Program was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation – the largest private contribution in the FARM Program’s history – which helped to underwrite the costs of serving 18 farmers with disabilities, hosted a Neighbor-to-Neighbor outreach event and further developed the CALF Project in Northwest Wisconsin.
  • The Easterseals Wisconsin FARM program was awarded a grant in 2015 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture for a three-year project, Securing Beginning Farmers Through Succession Planning. The project addressed the need of Wisconsin farmers without succession plans in place, estimated at 56% of farmers over the age of 55, to ensure the successful transition of farm operations to the next generation of beginning farmers. The FARM Program partnered with the Wisconsin Farm Center Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, to provide succession planning for farmers and farm families in which they were provided guidance, information, and assistance throughout the succession planning process. The program included on-farm site visits, individual and family discussions, matching with potential beginning farmers if a successor was not named, and assistance with retirement plans, tax, and inheritance issues.  The project was promoted through AgrAbility of Wisconsin, an Easterseals Wisconsin – UW-Extension partnership dedicated to helping farmers with a disability continue to farm.