Here are frequently asked questions and answers on populations served, service delivery areas, services provided to individuals, financial concerns, services provided to communities, and the partners involved in bringing all aspects of this program together.
Who does AgrAbility serve?
The Missouri AgrAbility Project offers services, including on-site farmstead assessments, to all Missouri farmers, ranchers, farm workers and family members who are limited by any type of physical, cognitive or illness-related disability, disorder or chronic health condition(s). AgrAbility services are also extended to individuals with a disease, disability or disorder who are working toward becoming a farmer or rancher. Some examples of who we serve include (but are not limited to): youth workers, women, older operators, veterans, minorities or urban farmers.
The AgrAbility Project assists people involved in production agriculture who work on small and large agricultural operations.
Will other people find out I have a disability?
The AgrAbility program provides information to farmers with disabilities and their families that will enable them to improve or restore agricultural productivity. 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.
Federal funds received by USDA necessitate that reports are a matter of public record so anyone may access the reported information. However, the consumer identity, nature of disability, details of the on-the-farm assessment and financial information will remain confidential.
Service delivery area
Do I have to live on the farm to receive services?
No. Any Missourian with a disease, disability or disorder who is engaged in farming, ranching or other agriculture-related occupations may qualify to receive services.
Are services available statewide?
Yes, the entire state is part of the program.
How can I receive services if I live in a state that does not have an AgrAbility project?
The National AgrAbility Project will provide information and resources for people in states without an AgrAbility Project. You can find information about the national project at http://www.agrability.org/.
Will training be held in an accessible location?
The AgrAbility program is committed to make every effort to ensure that materials and services offered are accessible to all persons with disabilities. Upon request, materials can be produced in an accessible format. Training sessions and outreach programs will be held in accessible facilities.
Where can I find other disability-related resources?
A listing of resources and educational materials is provided during training sessions. To receive additional copies of materials call 1-800-995-8503.
Services provided to individuals
What type of services are provided?
Services offered by the program include professional training, information dissemination, technical assistance, on-site farmstead or off-site assessment, and referral to other service providers.
What are on-site farmstead assessments and what are they used for?
On-site farmstead assessments help AgrAbility professionals better understand your farm or ranch as you operate it with a disease, disability or chronic health condition.
These assessments are used by AgrAbility staff members and professionals to learn about the size and scope of your farm or ranch, your role as an operator and the potential for alternative enterprises. Information is gathered to develop an AgrAbility report that includes a summary of:
- Barriers and functional limitations that prevent you from completing essential work tasks
- Assets already available to you
- Worksite modifications, job restructuring or reassignment of hard-to-perform tasks to other family members or employees
- Safe and appropriate assistive technologies, adaptive devices or other supportive services needed to achieve success and independence
- Specific goals that will help increase your overall independence, productivity and profitability
Also, on-site assessments are necessary if you apply to Missouri's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services or Rehabilitation Services for the Blind and potentially become eligible for their services to receive assistive technologies, adaptive devices and equipment suggested by AgrAbility professionals.
What about safety?
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.
How do I know what equipment will best fit my needs?
One of the strengths of the AgrAbility program is the network of information resources. In addition to the community-based experts such as extension specialists, rehabilitation therapists, independent living specialists, and others who have attended trainings, the AgrAbility management team members, consumer advisory committee members, National AgrAbility technical consults, and peer mentors are available to share research, experience and insight.
How do rehabilitation therapists work with farmers?
The rehabilitation therapist can conduct a personal skills assessment to help determine if an adapted approach to the task, use of adaptive equipment, or further rehabilitation is needed to complete a desired task. The results of the evaluation are combined with the overall information gained from the farmstead site assessment. A written report is completed that provides recommendations for possible referral to potential funding sources such as vocational rehabilitation or medical insurance. The services of a rehabilitation therapist may require payment that is often available through vocational rehabilitation, insurance companies or state and federal programs.
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology consists 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.
May I try out some assistive devices?
The Missouri Assistive Technology Project (MATP) has a library of adaptive equipment that you may try out. Demonstration of assistive technology is available through regional centers. Services provided include information and referral regarding assistive technology products, services, policy/funding issues, training on assistive technology for consumers and service providers, advocacy for accessing funding, and policy change for assistive technology. Populations served are persons with all disabilities of all ages, employers, businesses, service providers and governmental units.
What vocational training is available after a disease, disability or disorder?
Vocational Rehabilitation or Rehab Services for the Blind may be an option to assist people following an injury. The types of services provided include vocational evaluation, counseling and guidance, vocational skills training, job placement assistance and tuition assistance. A representative of the Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation or Rehab Services for the Blind can be located within your area. Vocational assistance is determined case-by-case based on meeting their eligibility criteria. Individuals who have physical, visual or mental disabilities that results in an impediment to employment and who require vocational rehabilitation services to gain employment are eligible to receive services. There is no cost to the consumer for services. Some financial services are based on financial need. An AgrAbility assessment can assist in this process for receiving funds.
What are some alternatives to farming?
The Missouri Alternatives Center (MAC) assists Missourians in diversifying or adding value to current farm operations and/or finding ways to profit from small acreage. MAC is able to offer services to assist the Missouri AgrAbility Program with information regarding small farm and alternative agriculture practices and marketing.
How long will services be available?
As long as the University of Missouri receives funding, services will be provided. The program was first funded in 1994 and has been continuously funded by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Is there a fee for services?
There is no fee for professional training, information dissemination, technical assistance, on-the-farm assessment or educational resource materials. Professionals from the University of Missouri are available for farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, agricultural workers and their family members.
Will you help me obtain funding?
Sources and amounts of funding depend upon circumstances. The Assistive Technology Coordinator in conjunction with the management team can make referrals to funding sources appropriate to your specific need and use.
Will the project make the necessary modifications?
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.
How much information do I have to share regarding personal finances?
You decide what information you are willing to share. People working with the program are professionals and will not gather information that is not necessary, nor will they share information without your permission or violate your right to privacy.
Do you accept donations?
The AgrAbility program will accept donations to support project activities. Donations are applied to support professional training activities, assistive technologies, display supplies, educational materials, travel expenses or modest meal allowances.
Services provided to communities
Is someone available to make presentations and provide training?
The management team and members of the consumer advisory committee are available to make presentations or provide training. Individuals who attend the training sessions will subsequently be available to make presentations and provide training.
Who can participate in the training sessions?
The goal of training sessions is to enhance the professional competencies of rural agricultural professionals, rehabilitation therapists, health care providers, vocational case managers and other service providers in order to support individuals with disabilities and their families. Extension specialists, rehabilitation therapists, people working in disability-related agencies, social service agencies, health care agencies and others interested in the program are invited to attend. Those who participate in these training sessions will be asked to become part of the information and referral provider network of the Missouri AgrAbility Program.
Is there a fee for training sessions?
A fee will not be charged for professional training, although some cost recovery may be necessary for resources such as videos, slide sets and additional training manuals.
How do I encourage my community to become more accessible?
Advocate for personal rights, form disability coalitions, contact a nearby center for independent living and involve others interested in disability rights. The Governor's Council on Disability is a state agency, within the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, that acts in an advisory capacity to all state agencies with input in all divisions of the Office of Administration on policies and practices that impact people with disabilities.
Who are the funded partners?
The Missouri AgrAbility Program is housed in University of Missouri Extension with joint cooperation from the departments of Occupational and Physical Therapy, the School of Medicine, county Extension Centers, and Brain Injury Association of Missouri, Inc. (BIA-Mo). Representatives from each of the entities form the management team.
Who are other collaborators?
In addition to the funded partners, other key groups collaborating to provide services and facilitate the program's success include: the Missouri Alternatives Center, Small Farmers’ Innovative Outreach Program operated at Lincoln University, CDC Regional Arthritis Centers, USDA Farm Service Agency, State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind.
What is the advantage of University of Missouri Extension's involvement?
The University of Missouri Extension is a network of people from different academic backgrounds. It is the local link of the four University of Missouri campuses and Lincoln University and people throughout the state. Extension specialists are integral parts of their communities and are a natural link through which agricultural workers and their families can receive information about the AgrAbility Program. The project improves a community's development of human capital and empowers individuals to reach their full capacity.
What is the National AgrAbility Project?
The National AgrAbility Program 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, AgrAbility helps thousands of determined individuals overcome barriers to continuing their chosen professions in agriculture.
AgrAbility was authorized by the 1990 Farm Bill and funded by Congress in 1991. Since the program has begun, competitive projects have been awarded to selected Cooperative Extension Services, based at land-grant universities, that 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.
What is Missouri AgrAbility's relationship with the National AgrAbility Project?
The National AgrAbility Project is a nationally recognized source of information and technical assistance regarding assistive technology and disability accommodations for the agricultural workplace.
What is the Consumer Advisory Committee?
The AgrAbility Program involves volunteers who assist with individual modification efforts, take part in public awareness activities, serve on the consumer advisory committee or participate in peer support networks. The consumer advisory committee meets quarterly and advises the management team on issues related to agricultural workers and their families with disabilities. To become a volunteer or a member of the consumer advisory committee call 1-800-995-8503.