The Missouri AgrAbility Project is about creating success in agriculture, employment, and rural life for people with disabilities and their families. It links the Cooperative Extension Service at a land-grant university with a nonprofit disability organization to provide practical education and assistance that promotes rural independence. Congress authorized the AgrAbility Project in the 1990 Farm Bill and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers the AgrAbility Project.
In partnership, AgrAbility staff members from the University of Missouri, through Agricultural Engineering Extension (800.995.8503) and Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living (816.279.4943) provide educational workshops, on-site farmstead assessments, off-site visits, technical assistance recommendations, and resource materials to farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and family members who are limited by any type of physical, cognitive, illness-related disability, or chronic health condition.
Missouri also is proud to partner with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, USDA Farm Service Agency, Arthritis Foundation Eastern Chapter, and the CDC Missouri Arthritis & Osteoporosis Program in serving agricultural workers and their family members around the state.
Eligible for AgrAbility Services
A recent study estimated that between 1.04 million to 2.23 million individuals in the U.S. agricultural population has a disability that affects their work or activities of daily living.
The average age of the American farmer or rancher continues to climb, and is currently at 57.1 years. With this comes a variety of age-related disabilities, such as hearing loss, visual impairments, and arthritis – the most prevalent disabling condition in the U.S.
Only 17% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, but rural residents account for 44% of our military. These rural veterans are returning to their farms, ranches, and rural communities with disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorders.
For many of these 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. The AgrAbility Project assists people involved in production agriculture who work on small and large agricultural operations.
The Missouri AgrAbility Project offers a variety of services, including the following, at no cost to customers:
- Conducting onsite farmstead assessments to identify barriers to completing essential everyday tasks, both in the agricultural workplace and the home.
- Recommending safe and appropriate assistive technologies (equipment/devices), efficient modified work practices, and other effective solutions to overcoming disability-related limitations.
- Providing access to informational resource materials on a variety of topics related to agriculture and disability.
- Providing face-to-face educational training opportunities through workshops, conferences, and seminars as well as online blogs and 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.
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 (e.g., training, on-site farmstead assessment, off-site visit, technical assistance, or information), please contact us at 1.800.995.8503 or e-mail us at AgrAbility@missouri.edu. For a complete listing of the Project staff, please jump to the Project Contacts.
The Missouri AgrAbility Project and this product is supported by funds from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under Sponsor Project Number 2009-41590-05431.
Information is available in alternate formats upon request. Please call, 1-800-995-8503.
Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP) Disclaimer:"The MAPs information comes from many sources, which are responsible for their accuracy and utility. Information accessed through the MAP does not imply endorsement. Questions regarding specific information should be directed to their respective sources."