AgrAbility keeps farmers working

Published 6:29 am Monday, February 26, 2018

Accidents, illness and other problems can restrict farmers from working and threaten their livelihood. Kentucky AgrAbility’s mission is to keep farmers working regardless of their limitations.

Since 1993, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National AgrAbility Project. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities so their families continue to succeed. Success may mean staying employed in production agriculture, accessing assistive technology, evidence-based information related to treatment and rehabilitation and targeted support for caregivers of AgrAbility clients.

Through extension, AgrAbility provides education and technical assistance to agricultural operators and their family members who face disability challenges such as arthritis, spinal cord injuries/paralysis, back impairments, amputations, brain injury, visual impairments, hearing impairments, disabling diseases, cerebral palsy, respiratory impairments and head injury.

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Sometimes applicants just need minor adjustments to how they perform routine tasks like moving water and feeding areas closer, but other times, they need more assistance. AgrAbility offers many services including:

· Providing on-farm technical assistance, ways to modify tools, equipment and machinery.

· Creating networking opportunities among farmers with disabilities to share ideas, experiences and support.

· Finding financial support for assistive technology and farm equipment modifications.

· Networking with national organizations that provide assistive technology for farmers with disabilities.

· Accessing and making recommendations to make homes and farm buildings more accessible.

· Referring individuals to appropriate agencies and organizations that best meet their needs.

· Providing training for rural healthcare professionals and providers on Rehabilitation Technology in Agriculture.

· Conducting educational programs in rural safety, injury prevention and disability awareness.

Requesting assistance from AgrAbility is free for farmers. For more information, contact Kentucky AgrAbility at 859-257-1126 or contact the Bell County Cooperative Extension Service.

Stacy White is the Bell County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin. Source: Linda Bokros, Kentucky AgrAbility project assistant