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Frequently Asked Questions

Collaborative Partnership
Project Contact
Financial Concerns
Populations Served
Service Delivery Area
Services Provided to Individuals
Services Provided to Communities
Assessment Options


What is the Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP)?

The AgrAbility Program assists people with diseases, disabilities or disorders employed in agriculture. This effort involves linking University of Missouri Extension with nonprofit disability organizations to provide appropriate education and assistance designed to promote independence in production agricultural and rural living. The AgrAbility Program provides professional training, on-the-farm assessment, technical assistance, information dissemination, and referral to other service providers.

The grant receipt, the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, directs day-to-day operations, information dissemination, and coordinates educational outreach activities. The University subcontracts with professionals to facilitate on-the-farm technical assistance.

Who has a disability?

For the AgrAbility Program, a person with a disability is defined as an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Disability examples include difficulty with mobility, sight, or speech and activity examples such as work, daily living, and education. The definition of disability includes, but is not limited to: amputation, arthritis, back injury, blindness, chronic pain, deafness, health conditions, hearing impairments, heart conditions, respiratory diseases, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairments.

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.

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology consist 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 booklet, assistive technology enables a person with a disability to complete desired tasks within an agricultural setting.

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Collaborative Partnership

Who are the funded partners?

The Missouri AgrAbility Program is housed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources with joint cooperation from the departments of Occupational and Physical Therapy, in the School of Medicine; county Extension Centers; and Brain Injury Association of Missouri, Inc. (BIA-Mo), a nonprofit disability organization. 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 Farmersí Innovative Outreach Program operated at Lincoln University, CDC Regional Arthritis Centers, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Determinations Division 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 organization, 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 the 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.

How do rehabilitation therapists work with AgrAbility?

Health care professionals trained in occupational, physical, respiratory, or speech therapy can evaluate an individual's skills. The skill levels are matched to task demands, and recommendations are made for task adaptation or for the application of appropriate adaptive technology. These services are paid for by individuals, insurance companies, or through state and federal programs.

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.

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Project Contact

How can I contact the MAP?

You may contact the Missouri AgrAbility Program by calling 1-800-995-8503 and through your local county Extension Center.

What happens when I contact the program?

For professional training, information dissemination, educational resource materials, technical assistance, or schedule an on-site farmstead or off-site assessment call 1-800-995-8503. Through training activities, community-based people such as University of Missouri Extension regional specialists, rehabilitation therapists, independent living specialists, community resource representatives, vocational case managers, and health care providers are available to answer questions, provide presentations, or conduct on-site farmstead or off-site assessments. At any time the agricultural worker has the right to continue or withdraw from involvement with the AgrAbility Program.

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Financial Concerns

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.

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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.

How many farmers receive services?

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.

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Populations Served

Who does AgrAbility serve?

Any Missourian with a disease, disability or disorder and who is engaged in farming, ranching or in other agriculture related occupation is eligible to receive services.

I don't receive funds from SSD or SSI, can I still receive services from AgrAbility?

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Service Delivery Area

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

Any Missourian with a disease, disability or disorder and who is engaged in farming, ranching or in other agriculture-related occupations qualify and is eligible to receive services.

Are services available statewide?

The entire state is part of the program. Awareness-level presentations and on-the-farm assessments can be provided. The management team is a resource for issues not detailed during the training sessions.

How can I receive AgrAbility services if I live in a state that does not have an AgrAbility project?

The National Project will provide information and resources for people in states without an AgrAbility Project.

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.

What are 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. Also, AgrAbility materials can be found at website

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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.

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 provide 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.

How long will services be available?

As long as the University of Missouri receives funding service will be provided. The program was first funded in 1994 and has been refunded by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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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 to 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 video tapes, slide sets, and additional training manuals.

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Assessment Options

What is an on-the-farm assessment?

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

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 the training session, the AgrAbility management team members, consumer advisory committee members, National AgrAbility technical consults, and peer mentors are available to share research, experience, and insight.

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 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 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. The Governor's Council on Disability 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.

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.

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For additional Information contact:
Missouri AgrAbility Project
University of Missouri


The Missouri AgrAbility Project and this product is supported by funds from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under Sponsor Project Number 2018-41590-22323.

Information is available in alternate formats upon request. Please call, 1-800-995-8503.

Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP) Disclaimer:"The MAPs information comes from many sources, which are responsible for their accuracy and utility. Information accessed through the MAP does not imply endorsement. Questions regarding specific information should be directed to their respective sources."

Missouri AgrAbility Project Univeristy of Missouri Extension
University of Missouri Extension is an equal opportunity/ADA institution.