AgrAbility program helps disabled farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

AgrAbility program helps disabled farmers

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

James Carter has been farming for over 20 years.

Horse, Hay and sheep are just some of the life you can find on the Carter Farm.

But In 2005, when James' arm began to shake, and after several doctor's visits, he found out something that would affect his life, work and his family.

James has Parkinson disease.

The disease affects the brain and leads shaking and difficulty with movement.

Since the diagnosis, he's quit one job as a bus driver but as a farmer everyday tasks like climbing stairs or opening gates became more difficult.

He and his family were forced to make adjustments and things like their yearly Horse Camp had to stop.

"I'd probably let it go and went on, but like I said it took us till August 2011 to get help from them," said James Carter.

That is until a little over a year ago, when a friend told them about the AgrAbility program.

It's a free statewide Georgia program designed for members of the agriculture community who have disabilities to have independence by providing information and assistance.

Glen Rains, professor of Agriculture at the University of Georgia, says the average age of farmers in Georgia is 58 years old and need assistance more often than they think.

"It could just be that you're having difficulty getting in your tractor. We have things that would help do that. Adjust your steps to get up in the tractor, we can adjust your seat. we can do a lot of things," said Rains.

Once they are notified of someone needing assistance the investigators are sent to find out what kind of help they need.

Rains says the program is competitive and only 22 states in the nation are awarded the funds every four years through the United States Department of Agriculture.

Now, The 8th year is up in June but they'll be applying for another four.

"If it wasn't for them this job would be a lot harder than what it is," said James Carter.

AgrAbility has helped assist farmers in the state with something as small as a knob on a steering wheel to something as big as a mobile chicken coup.

For the carter family, every assistance was a big help and they say they're now  thinking about opening their Horse Camp up once again.

Farmers are encouraged to contact AgrAbility Representatives by visiting Farmagain.com for information or assistance.

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