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National AgrAbility Project Impact on Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 12(4): 275-291. (doi: 10.13031/2013.22009) @2006
Authors:   R. H. Meyer and R. J. Fetsch
Keywords:   AgrAbility, Agricultural injury, Agricultural safety, Disability, Farmer, Rancher

The impact of AgrAbility was evaluated through a survey of farmers and ranchers with disabilities who have been served by AgrAbility. The general demographics of the client population and assistance received were evaluated. Other information gathered included client ability pre- and post-onset of a disability and implications of self-reported outlook for the future. Eight states with AgrAbility programs participated in this cooperative survey with the National AgrAbility Project, with a 58.7% response rate (N = 618). The client population was mostly male (85.2%) with an average age of 53.3 with many working full-time (42.4%), part-time (27.6%), only off-farm (3%), or both off and on the farm (27%) in predominately row-crop (58.2%), cattle (not dairy) (46.6%), and hay or forage (41.4%) operations. Nearly half (48.2%) of the clients reported that the origin of the disability was due to a chronic health condition, as opposed to an injury. The majority of clients reported receiving information referring them to a funding source (42.0%) and receiving technical assistance with modifications around the farm or ranch (41.3%). Only two areas of farm operation were reported to have increased after the onset of disability (farm office from 43.8% to 61.2% and household chores from 30.9% to 36.0%). Field machinery operation continues to be the most common activity on the farm, with 73.3% reporting operating field machinery after the onset of disability. The present sample was more optimistic than expected. From a simultaneous multiple linear regression analysis, the factors contributing to positive future outlook include: ability to manage ones chores, machinery, and farm, F (5, 387) = 34.91, p < 0.001). Implications for safety professionals are included.

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