Services and eligibility
For many individuals, the presence of a disability or chronic health condition can jeopardize their rural and agricultural futures. Rural isolation, a tradition of self-reliance, and gaps in rural service delivery systems frequently prevent agricultural workers with disabilities from taking advantage of the growing expertise in modifying farm operations, adapting equipment, promoting farmstead accessibility, and using assistive technologies to safely accommodate disability in agricultural and rural settings. Yet, with some assistance, agricultural workers with disabilities can safely and effectively continue to earn their livelihoods in production agriculture and participate fully in rural community life.
Eligibility for AgrAbility Services
For the AgrAbility program, a person with a disability is defined as an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as work, daily living and education. The types of disability may include but is not limited to amputation, arthritis, back injury, blindness or vision impairment, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, cognitive impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, heart conditions, mental illness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, respiratory diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other disabling conditions.
The AgrAbility Project assists people involved in production agriculture who work on small and large agricultural operations.
The Missouri AgrAbility project involves Extension educators, disability experts, rural professionals, and volunteers who work in partnership to offer a variety of services, including the following, at no cost to customers:
- Identifying farmers, ranchers or farmworkers with disabilities and/or chronic diseases and referring them to appropriate resources.
- Conducting onsite farmstead assessments to identify barriers to complete essential everyday tasks, both in the agricultural workplace and the home.
- Recommending safe equipment or devices, efficient work practices and other effective solutions to overcome limitations.
- Providing education and informational resources on a variety of topics.
- Coordinating face-to-face educational opportunities through workshops, conferences, seminars and online programs.
- Referring customers to other service providers for potential assistance (e.g., counseling, educational, financial, occupational, rehabilitative) specific to the client’s needs.
- Arranging for peer support networking to connect customers with others who have successfully accommodated their disabilities.
To perform an activity in an unsafe manner involves risk. The degree of risk is affected by personal factors, environmental factors, and equipment factors. The AgrAbility program helps the consumer to be aware of appropriate activities considering personal limitations and relevant circumstances.
Assistive technology consist of practices, devices, tools, modifications, processes and a special knowledge of science and engineering that are used to enable a person to perform a desired task. In the context of this program, assistive technology enables a person with a disability to complete desired tasks within an agricultural setting.
The Missouri AgrAbility Project does not provide direct funding or equipment. However, the project works with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Rehab Services for the Blind, and other third party funding sources to help customers potentially obtain needed assistive technologies, adapted devices or modifications.
If you are interested in AgrAbility services, please contact us at 1-800-995-8503 or email us at [email protected].