AgrAbility is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide direct services to farmers and ranchers with disabilities or long-term health conditions that impact their ability to work in production agriculture. National, state, and regional AgrAbility Projects are partnerships between land-grant institutions and nonprofit disability services organizations. AgrAbility’s objectives include:
- developing service capacity by presenting educational programs designed to increase a producer’s capabilities, adapting new technologies, and delivering program content at educational activities venues;
- encouraging networking to foster information sharing; and
- providing direct services to agricultural workers.
AgrAbility’s Mission Statement
The vision of AgrAbility is to enable a high-quality lifestyle for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families, and their communities continue to succeed in rural America. For this target audience, success may be defined by many parameters, including:
- gainful employment in production agriculture or a related occupation;
- access to appropriate assistive technology needed for work and daily living activities;
- evidence-based information related to the treatment and rehabilitation of disabling conditions; and
- targeted support for family caregivers of AgrAbility customers.
Click here to locate the AgrAbility Project in your area.
Assistive Technology for Agricultural Producers
Agricultural producers with disabilities or chronic health conditions who have difficulties completing their responsibilities on the farm or ranch may benefit from assistive technology (AT). Per the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, AT can be defined as any item, piece of equipment, or product system—whether modified, customized, or acquired commercially off the shelf—that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. The following list provides examples of assistive technology for agricultural producers:
- Extra steps and handrails on a tractor help a producer with arthritis get in and out of the cab of a tractor.
- An automatic hitching system enables a producer with mobility impairment to hitch and unhitch wagons while he or she remains in the tractor seat, reducing the strain on the knees and hips.
- An automatic feed cart enables a person with a back impairment who can no longer use a wheelbarrow to feed a dairy herd.
Click here to be directed to the searchable online version of “The Toolbox,” a compilation of assistive technology solutions for producers with disabilities developed by the Breaking New Ground Resource Center.
Assistive technology act. (1998) U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-118/pdf/STATUTE-118-Pg1707.pdf.
Use the following format to cite this article:
National AgrAbility Project. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/63162/national-agrability-project.