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Rep. Molinaro Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Break Down Barriers for Farmers & Farm Families With Disabilities

Binghamton, NY – U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19) today introduced the Think DIFFERENTLY Agriculture Accessibility Act, a bipartisan bill that breaks down barriers for farmers and farm families with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities by expanding the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) AgrAbility program. This bill builds on Rep. Molinaro’s successful ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative. Rep. Molinaro introduced this bipartisan bill alongside U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8).

AgrAbility was created in 1991 and provides federal funding for assistive technology and support services for farmers and farm families with disabilities. Funding is designed to be flexible and can be used for a wide range of assistive projects, including modifications to farm equipment and facilities to make them accessible, procurement of technology to help farmer mobility, and general counseling to ensure farmers have a trusted resource when looking for assistance for themselves or their families. Since it was created, AgrAbility has lent direct support to over 14,000 people with disabilities in rural America, including farmers and farm workers, veterans, and children.

Rep. Molinaro’s bill dramatically expands AgrAbility by increasing authorized funding for the program by $3 million. The bill also allows funding to be used for support and education for youth and young adults with disabilities interested in farm related careers.

Rep. Molinaro said, "Farmers and farm families with disabilities face unnecessary barriers on the job and in their communities. The bipartisan Think DIFFERENTLY Agriculture Accessibility Act changes things by helping them access support services and assistive technology. This bill is going to break down barriers and empower rural Americans with disabilities to make a living.”

Richard Belden, CEO of SourceAmerica said, “On behalf of tens of thousands of people with disabilities employed by hundreds of affiliated nonprofits across the U.S., SourceAmerica endorses Representatives Molinaro and Caraveo’s Think DIFFERENTLY Agriculture Accessibility Act. This legislation will continue to ensure people with disabilities working in the agriculture industry have access to the accommodations and support they need to succeed over the next decade, while also expanding opportunities for young adults with disabilities preparing for agricultural employment.”