Network Connections

Explore this page for connections to state and national agencies working together to maximize the success of farmers, farm workers, and farm family members with disabilities.


Maine Resources

Maine Vocational Rehabilitation
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, also known as “VR,” is a Department of Labor program that helps people who have disabilities to get and keep a job. VR helps people who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. In general, people are eligible for services if they have a significant impairment that impedes their ability to work, and if they require vocational rehabilitation services to attain or maintain employment. VR works with persons with disabilities through its three primary service provision units:

If you are involved in agriculture and interested in VR services, please contact Christopher Bean, Liaison from the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation to Maine AgrAbility at 207.822.3317. View the VR Orientation Video.

Maine Small Business Development Centers provide comprehensive business management assistance, training, resource and information services to Maine’s micro, small, and technology-based business communities. The focus of the Maine SBDC is to assist in the creation and maintenance of viable micro, small and technology-based businesses and the jobs these businesses provide.

AccessMaine is a website developed to assist Mainers with disabilities, their families, and providers. There is also lots of information here that is useful to employers, educators, researchers, and the general public.

Agricultural Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a trained, impartial mediator helps two or more parties resolve their differences and negotiate a fair agreement.   Special services for the agricultural community:  Trained mediators can facilitate disputes involving adverse USDA decisions, farm loans, environmental or forestry issues, insurance or disaster relief, contracts with food processors, neighbors, labor issues, wetland determinations, and more.


National Resources

The National AgrAbility Project oversees the 24 state AgrAbility programs. Check out the website for an extensive resource list specific to particular disabilities/chronic health conditions.

The Breaking New Ground Resource Center in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering has become internationally recognized as the primary source for information and resources on rehabilitation technology for persons working in agriculture.

Arthritis and Agriculture is full of arthritis information (for example, arthritis impacts 1/3 of all adult farm operators). You’ll find several practical tips to reduce the impact of arthritis on your agricultural operation.

The National Agricultural Safety Database, NASD, is a collection of publications about agricultural safety and health. The publications are contributed by safety specialists in many different states and agencies.  Includes a section specific to farming with disabilities.

Rural Caregivers — Everyone in the family is impacted when one person is injured, ill, or disabled.  Take a look at this page for all sorts of resources for caregivers.

Farm Safety and Health from eXtension.org.

Wheel:Life is a global initiative that assists people in addressing the many questions and challenges that come with using a wheelchair. More than 20,000 friends who use wheelchairs visit our website each month to take part in our free, online resources.


Veteran Resources

USDA Veterans in Agriculture — Thinking about farming as a post-service career? There has never been a more important time to get involved in agriculture. The USDA is working to provide the solutions and partnerships to get you started in farming.

United Farmer Veterans of Maine is a veterans-based non-profit working for the betterment of ALL veterans in Maine. United Farmer Veterans of Maine exists to promote collaboration that advocates, supports and mentors Maine’s military veteran farmers in order to facilitate success in sustainable and secure agriculture throughout our communities in Maine.

On a national level, the National Farmer Veteran Coalition is a resource whose mission is to mobilize veterans to feed America. Membership is free. The Returning Veterans to Agriculture Project is dedicated to gathering and communicating resources for veterans who are interested in returning to or starting careers in agriculture and in rural communities.

The Maine Small Business Development Center (SBDC) connects to local and national veteran farming resources. On a national level, Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup is an entrepreneurial education initiative offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as an elective track within the Department of Defense’s revised Training Assistance Program called Transition Goals, Plans, Success (Transition GPS).   Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (VWISE) is an entrepreneurial training program for female veterans of all service eras and branches with a passion for and interest in either starting a new small business or growing an existing one.

Easter Seals of Maine offers military and Veterans systems of care with viable options to support and augment current reintegration efforts. Their mission is to provide critical and timely financial assistance when no other resource is available to veterans, service members and their families, to ensure their dignity, health and overall well-being.

Goodwill Industries of Northern New England has the Veteran Fund whose goal is to meet immediate needs for veterans and their families, to fill the gap, connect, and move forward.

Guide to Veteran-to-Farmer Training Pilot Program Resources in Maine (#2432) — In 2013, the Maine State Legislature passed LD 409, a “Resolve to Establish a Veteran-to-Farmer Training Pilot Program,” the purpose of which was to capture the richness of opportunities in Maine for veterans to receive comprehensive training and education on careers in the agriculture. This fact sheet will serve as a guide to training and education resources to pursue careers in the agriculture.


Beginning Farmer Resources

Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine is a coalition of Maine agriculture agencies and organizations working together to connect aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers to resources for farm business success.

www.FarmAnswers.org — A new USDA resource to help farmers and ranchers get easy to access, reliable information for technical assistance in getting their business started. Find online courses, videos, presentations, apps, and other materials. Items on the site can be filtered to the specific information the user wants and help them find educational programs in their localities. Toolboxes are available on topics such as business planning, marketing products locally, and accessing land. FarmAnswers is a key partner of the USDA-wide effort to make it easier for people to find USDA programs and services for new farmers through a streamlined website and discovery tool. The NewFarmers website also includes information specifically for women in agricultureyouth, and veterans.

The USDA beginning farmers site has resources and support for new farmers. According to the USDA, if you are thinking about farming as a post-service career, there has never been a more important time to get involved in agriculture. Read more.

These links are provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any content on the linked site.