Worksite and Vocational Issues

Agricultural workers with disabilities normally need assistive technology, modifications to their worksites, assistance with funding disability-related expenses, or guidance in exploring new career paths. Therefore, AgrAbility provides resources that include:

  • Tools for assisting with the assessment of worksites and assistive technology devices.
  • Guidance in working with state Vocational Rehabilitation systems to obtain funding for assistive technology and/or home and worksite modifications
  • Practical materials for helping farmers and ranchers make career decisions

Vocational Rehabilitation

AgrAbility/Vocational Rehabilitation White Paper: “Serving Agricultural Workers with Disabilities through State Vocational Rehabilitation Services”

The National AgrAbility Project has maintained a working group dedicated to helping AgrAbility clients get needed services from state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Specifically, the group has focused on issues related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and aspects that have proven difficult for agricultural cases: (1) determining the viability of the agricultural enterprise as an employment goal prior to providing VR services, and (2) verifying the profitability of the enterprise to confirm successful case closure.

The working group has developed a white paper related to these issues, and it was submitted to the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE), a U.S. Department of Education-funded project that serves as a central hub for training and technical assistance related to VR. The center has posted the paper. and it is also available by clicking here.

Training Webinar Modules

Each module is approximately 15 minutes in length and features former VR counselor and NAP VR Specialist Samuel Mathew.

State Vocational Rehabilitation Contacts

Listing of Vocational Rehabilitation entities in each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia,  Puerto Rico, and the other U.S. territories maintained by the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration 

Conducting Agricultural Worksite Assessments (2021)

Assists the rural rehabilitation professional in conducting an effective agricultural worksite assessment for a farmer or rancher with a physical disability. The 180-page publication provides a standardized assessment format as well as a wealth of information for preparing a plan to address individual needs.  A companion tool is also included for conducting assessments for secondary injuries.

Improving Farmstead Accessibility

Improving Farmstead Accessibility cover

This 1994 guide provides help to rehabilitation service providers in identifying accessibility concerns around the home and the farmstead. The resource can help in developing solutions for farmstead layout, home accessibility, accessibility for gardens and orchards, farm shop accessibility, and accessibility and safety. Improving Farmstead Accessibility [PDF]


Enterprising Ideas

Enterprising Ideas for Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Families with Physical Disabilities cover

Enterprising Ideas contains case histories of rural residents with disabilities who have developed alternative, farm-based enterprises (income-producing ventures). Each case discusses the enterprise, the resources and skills required for the venture and the assistive technology used by the farmer. Enterprising Ideas is appropriate for rural rehabilitation professionals as well as farmers considering a change in enterprise. Click here for a PDF copy.

Making Career Decisions Following a Disability – A Guide for Farmers & Ranchers

Making Career Decisions Following a Disability - A Guide for Farmers and Ranchers cover

Provides rural professionals with practical materials (over 20 handouts, worksheets, sample cover letters and resumes) for helping farmers and ranchers make career decisions. Chapters address the agricultural lifestyle, prevalence of disabilities, the role of the professional, identifying resources, self-assessment, tools for the job search, the ADA and assistive technology for employers and employees. Click here for a PDF copy.

Cooperative Extension Service and Accessibility

This resource package includes a 15-minute video presentation, a Practical Solutions Resource Manual and a brochure. It provides practical information in an easy-to-use format that is designed to help Extension improve the accessibility of its programs, services and materials, extension offices and fairgrounds. The packet also provides sources for assistive devices, technical and legal information, and copy-ready handouts for training in the community. Contact us to order a copy.

Technical Articles

The Plowshares are technical articles that were published by the Breaking New Ground Resource Center over several years. Each report focuses on a specific topic on farming/ranching with a disability.