AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians is a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture designed to assist farmers and other agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by providing the resources and support they need to live independently and continue in production agriculture. This statewide project is a partnership between the Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA.
Some of the more common disabilities or health conditions that Pennsylvania farmers may have include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual or hearing loss
- Respiratory problems
- Back impairment
AgrAbility staff can provide a variety of services, at no cost, for farmers and farm families who have a disability or long-term health condition who want to remain in or return to production agriculture.
AgrAbility services include:
- On-site farm assessment to identify barriers to completing essential everyday tasks and chores, both in the agricultural workplace and the home.
- Identification of safe and appropriate assistive technologies (equipment/devices and efficient modified work practices).
- Referral to information resource materials on a variety of topics related to agriculture and disability.
- Access to face-to-face educational training opportunities through workshops, conferences, and seminars as well as online blogs and programs.
- Referral to other service providers for potential assistance (e.g., funding resources, occupational or physical therapy assessments) specific to the farmer's or farm family's needs.
- Provide peer support opportunities to connect farmers to one another.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians has been providing information and direct services to farmers and farm family members affected by disability or long term health condition since 1995.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians does not provide direct funding for equipment. However, the AgrAbility staff works with the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, PATF, and other third-party funding sources to help farmers and farm families obtain needed assistive technology and modifications.
OVR is a state agency that works with individuals with a disability in regards to retaining or gaining employment. The OVR District Offices cover a multitude of counties. Please visit the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation website to determine the OVR District Office that provides services for your area.
If you are interested in AgrAbility services, please contact us at 814.867.5288 or email us at AgrAbility@psu.edu or visit our website.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians provides a critical service to the Commonwealth's agricultural community. Farming ranks as one of the most dangerous occupations in the country; and farmers struggle each day to cope with arthritis, knee and back problems -- to name just a few -- that are caused by the daily demands of production agriculture.
The Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Penn State Extension are proud to partner with UCP Central PA to help farmers with a disability to return and remain in production agriculture with less discomfort and greater independence. ~ Dr. Connie Baggett