AgrAbility Services

Are there costs associated with receiving services from the state, regional or national AgrAbility projects?

No, State and Regional AgrAbility Projects (SRAPs) are not allowed by their contracts with USDA-NIFA to charge clients for services provided that are within the scope of the AgrAbility Program guidelines contained in the federal legislation. AgrAbility staff may recommend resources, assistive technology, or expert consulting services, such as from a Professional Engineer that may have costs associated with them.

Do I have to live on the farm to receive services?

No. Anyone with a disease, disability or disorder and who is engaged in farming, ranching or in other agriculture-related occupations is eligible to receive services.

Do I need to show proof of U.S. citizenship to receive AgrAbility services?


Does the National AgrAbility Project provide on-farm consultations?

Generally no. Historically, however, National AgrAbility Project (NAP) staff have conducted numerous on-site visits as part of information gathering, pilot testing of new resources or during preparation of new audio-visual resources. The NAP staff have very limited funding available to conduct on-site assessments or provide direct client services. Don't be afraid to ask if such assistance could be arranged. The NAP staff may be able to refer you to a SRAP, local disability agency or other source of assistance.

For what kind of disabilities does the AgrAbility Program provide services?

Farmers, ranchers, their family members and agricultural workers, including seasonal and migrant farm workers are eligible to receive AgrAbility services. In addition those engaged in agricultural-related occupations, forestry, fishing, and lawn care will find many of the resources available through AgrAbility applicable to their workplaces.

AgrAbility has served individuals with a wide range of disability types including physical, cognitive, or illness-related, and AgrAbility resources are available that address the needs of individuals with:

• Amputations

• Arthritis

• Back pain

• Blindness or low vision

• Cancer

• Cardiac conditions

• Cerebral palsy

• Deafness or hearing impairments

• Diabetes

• Mental retardation

• Multiple sclerosis

• Muscular dystrophy

• Post-polio syndrome

• Respiratory problems

• Spinal cord injuries

• Stroke

• Traumatic brain injury

AgrAbility is not capable of providing comprehensive assistance for all disability-types but is often able to refer individuals to better equipped sources of information and assistance.

How can I receive AgrAbility 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.

How do I contact AgrAbility?

Currently, there are 22 funded state and regional AgrAbility projects. For a complete listing of these projects check the listing at It has a map of the U.S. and allows you to click on the map for contact information. In addition, there are several states that have affiliated projects that may be able to provide assistance. If your state is not listed as having a currently funded AgrAbility project or affiliated project contact the National AgrAbility Project. The NAP staff can provide direct technical consultation to consumers, health and rehabilitation professionals, and other service providers on how to accommodate disabilities in production agriculture.

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.

How do I know what equipment will best fit my needs?

The AgrAbility projects are a network of information resources. This network includes community-based experts, such as extension specialists, rehabilitation therapists, independent living specialists, and others who have attended training sessions. The AgrAbility management team members, advisory committee members, national AgrAbility technical consultants and peer mentors are also available to share research, experience and insight.

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 unnecessary information, nor will they share information without your permission or violate your right to privacy.

I don’t receive funds from SSD or SSI. Can I still receive services from AgrAbility?

Services provided are not linked to Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Is there a cost for the services of the National AgrAbility Project?

Generally, no. All consultation services provided via mail, email, or telephone by the staff of the National AgrAbility and its partners are provided without cost. In some cases, certain print or audio-visual resources or bulk quantities of resources are available at a nominal charge. In addition, reimbursement of expenses is requested when NAP staff participate in certain activities where travel is required.

Is there any recourse if I am dissatisfied with the services I have received from an AgrAbility staff member?

If you are unhappy with the services received from an AgrAbility staff member, you should contact the state or regional project director at the Land Grant institution hosting the project. If you remain unsatisfied contact the Director of Extension at the hosting Land Grant Institution. If you still cannot resolve the issue, contact the AgrAbility Program Manager at USDA-NIFA. This position is currently being filled by:

Aida Balsano, National Program Leader
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA
Waterfront Centre
800 9th Street, SW
Room 4433
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 720-4436
Fax: (202) 720-9366

What impact does the National AgrAbility Project have on the state and regional AgrAbility projects?

Working on the assumption that there will never be adequate resources from any one initiative to address the needs of AgrAbility customers, a major objective of the NAP is encouraging the SRAPs to expand services to their clientele through collaboration with other organizations having comparable missions. This would include the leveraging of resources, partnering with other disability organizations on service delivery initiatives, and increased utilization of currently available federal and state rehabilitation resources, such as vocational rehabilitation funding. If, at the end of the current funding cycle, there has been demonstrated success toward integrating the unique services provided by the SRAPs into the larger rehabilitation community with significant acceptance by rehabilitation professionals, the efforts of the NAP will have been beneficial in achieving long term benefits.

In addition, there are significant resources being invested by the NAP to enhance the level of professional competencies of all personnel associated with providing AgrAbility services. This includes continuous professional development opportunities, access to evidence-based resources, and expanding networking between SRAPs.

What is an on-farm assessment?

The assessment is an on-site evaluation to match the individual's goals with ways to achieve them. An individual may decide to redefine long-term goals and prioritize short-term goals. The on-farm assessment is typically completed in one visit, although information and referral follow-up via telephone and correspondence are appropriate. A follow-up visit may also be appropriate.

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology for people who live in farming communities includes any kind of device, modification, or service that will help a person with a disability work and live more independently in the rural setting.

An assistive technology device is any item or piece of equipment used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities, allowing them to function independently in any setting including: recreation, education, employment and daily living.

Assistive technology enables a person with a disability to complete tasks within an agricultural setting. Examples of assistive technology include:

• Tractor seat with added back support

• Walking canes

• Extended tractor steps

• Tractor lift

• Turney seat

• Universal steps

• Wheelchair lift

• Speech recognition software

What vocational training is available after a disease, disability or disorder?

Vocational rehabilitation services may be an option to assist people following an injury. The types of services provided include funding for modifications and equipment to accommodate the disability, vocational evaluation, counseling and guidance, vocational skills training, job placement assistance, and tuition assistance. A representative of the department of vocational rehabilitation services can be located within your area. Vocational assistance is determined case-by-case based on meeting eligibility criteria. Individuals who have physical or mental disability that results in an impediment to employment and who require vocational rehabilitation services to gain employment are eligible to receive services.

Where can I find more information about AgrAbility services and resources?

To discover more about AgrAbility services, computer-based and printed resources, operation, regional coverage, funding, and assistive technology databases, go to:

Or, use a search engine, such as Google and type in AgrAbility and your state name to find a Web site for your state AgrAbility program if your state has one. To find if your state has a program go to the Project Contact List on the National AgrAbility Project website and then click on your state on the U.S. map.

Who qualifies for AgrAbility services?

All farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers and members of their families are eligible to receive AgrAbility services. This includes both seasonal and migrant farm workers. Other occupations that have been served include: loggers, fishermen, gardeners, lawn maintenance personnel, Christmas tree growers, truckers, agricultural implement service technicians, and wood workers.

Will my state project make the necessary modifications?

Referrals will be made to resources most capable of adapting technical equipment. The AgrAbility projects primarily provide professional training, information dissemination, technical assistance, on-farm assessment and referral to other service providers.

Will other people find out I have a disability?

The AgrAbility projects provide information to agricultural producers 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 your experience 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.