AgrAbility was authorized by the 1990 Farm Bill and funded by Congress in 1991. Since the program began, competitive projects have been awarded to select Cooperative Extension Services based at land-grant universities, which have joined with nonprofit disability organizations to educate and assist agricultural workers with disabilities and their families. The National AgrAbility Project was reauthorized by the 1996 Farm Bill.
The AgrAbility Project assists people who have diseases, disabilities or disabling conditions that interfere with their ability to continue employment in agricultural production. This effort involves linking University Outreach and Extension with a nonprofit disability organization to provide appropriate education and assistance designed to promote independence in agricultural production and rural living by removing obstacles through appropriate assistive technologies and accommodations to the agricultural environment. The AgrAbility Project provides activities through the three national priorities of Education, Networking and Direct Services.
Funded partners: the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service functions as the lead agency. The Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) serves as the non-profit disability partner with services provided by Oklahoma ABLE Tech (Oklahoma’s Assistive Technology Act Program). The Langston University School of Physical Therapy partners through their educational efforts with future physical therapists who work with under-served populations in rural Oklahoma.
The National AgrAbility Program (NAP) is an example of a consumer-driven USDA-funded program that provides vital education, assistance, and support to farmers and ranchers with disabilities. Through the combined dedication and expertise of the Cooperative Extension System and nonprofit disability organizations across the nation, NAP helps farmers/ranchers overcome barriers to continuing a profession in agriculture.
For the AgrAbility Project, a person with a disability is defined very broadly as an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Disability examples include difficulty with mobility, sight, or speech and activity examples affecting work, daily living, and education.
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 Project helps the farmer/rancher to be aware of appropriate activities considering personal limitations and relevant circumstances.
Assistive technology consists of practices, devices, tools, modifications, processes, and a special knowledge of science and engineering that is used to enable a person to perform a desired task. In the AgrAbility context, assistive technology enables a person with a disability to complete tasks within an agricultural setting.
You may contact the Oklahoma AgrAbility Program by calling 1-888-885-5588 or writing email@example.com and through the local county extension office.
AgrAbility staff will assist you in the following ways:
• Provide information on a variety of topics related to agriculture and disability
• Provide advice about how to become an AgrAbility client
• Conduct an on-site farm assessment to identify barriers to completing tasks, both in the agricultural workplace and the home
• Recommend appropriate and available assistive technologies, modified work practices, and other possible solutions to overcome disability-related limitations
• Provide referrals to other providers for potential assistance including financial, rehabilitative or educational needs
• Provide information on workshops, conferences, seminars and online programs
There is no fee for the services listed above. Professionals from the Oklahoma AgrAbility Project are available for farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers and their family members.
Sources and amounts of funding are determined on a case by case basis. AgrAbility staff can make referrals to the funding sources appropriate to your specific need and use.
The AgrAbility Project primarily provides professional training, information dissemination, technical assistance, on-the-farm assessment, and referral to other service providers. In addition, referrals can be made to others more capable of adapting technical equipment.
AgrAbility staff educates the individual about available funding sources; each funding source has specific eligibility criteria specific to that program. Once informed, it is the individual’s decision regarding shared funding information as well as funding resources sought. No information will be shared by AgrAbility staff without the individual’s permission.
The AgrAbility Project accepts donations to support project activities through OkAT, the non-profit partner.
The AgrAbility Program will not share information without your permission. Your neighbors may notice that you are able to perform tasks that you formerly were prevented from pursuing. If they ask how the recovery happened, we hope you will share with them, but you are not required to do so. You may decide to mentor farmers with a disability in your community and, if so, you will become a valuable resource to others.
Any Oklahoman with a disease, disability or disabling condition who is engaged in farming, ranching or in other agriculture related occupations is eligible to receive services.
Any Oklahoman with a disease, disability or disabling condition who is engaged in farming, ranching or in other agriculture-related occupations qualify is eligible to receive services.
The entire state is part of the program.
The National AgrAbility Project will provide information and resources for people in states without an AgrAbility Project.
The assessment is an on-site evaluation to match the individual's goals with appropriate ways to achieve them. During the assessment process, an individual may decide to redefine long-term goals and prioritize as short-term goals. The on-the-farm assessment is typically completed in one visit, although information and assistance follow-up via telephone and correspondence may be needed. Because the assessment is a process, a follow-up visit may also be appropriate.
One of the strengths of the AgrAbility Project is knowledge and expertise on appropriate assistive technologies and accommodations as well as an extensive network of information resources. In addition to the community-based experts such as extension specialists and rehabilitation therapists, staff has access to National AgrAbility Project technical consults.
The Oklahoma Assistive Technology Act Program, Oklahoma ABLE Tech, has an extensive inventory of assistive technology devices that you may try. Services provided include: device demonstration, device short term loan, device re-utilization, and alternate financing programs. For more information, contact the program at 1-888-885-5588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Oklahoma State University and Langston University, in compliance with title VI and VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of their policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.