(20 ILCS 235/5)
The General Assembly finds the following:
(1) Illinois is one of the leading
agricultural-producing states in the nation. By being involved in such a diverse and highly mechanized industry, the more than 500,000 agricultural workers in Illinois are susceptible to any one of a number of work-related injuries and chronic health problems that limit an individual's ability to safely continue farming.
(2) Available estimates indicate that, each year in
Illinois, more than 200 farm workers sustain injuries, which result in permanent physical disabilities affecting their future income.
(3) It is estimated that nationwide more than 200,000
farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers experience injuries that result in lost work time. Of these injuries, 5% have serious or permanent results.
(4) According to the most recent census data,
approximately 5,000 Illinois farmers have permanent disabilities as a result of accidents, health related ailments, and age.
(5) Farm operators and workers are typically highly
skilled individuals and the loss of these individuals to a disability negatively impacts the Illinois farm economy. The AgrAbility Project established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture has been successful in helping agricultural workers who suffer from a disability continue to farm. A similar program established by the State and working with the existing AgrAbility Unlimited Program will assist even more Illinois citizens in receiving the assistance that they need and will benefit the State agriculture industry.
(Source: P.A. 94-216, eff. 7-14-05.)