Does AgrAbility Work?
YES! Three Maine AgrAbility success stories:
One of our clients was experiencing isolation due to lack of mobility. After an AgrAbility assessment, she and her husband were able to purchase a van with a low-interest mPower loan from Alpha One. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) paid to adapt the van for wheelchair accessibility and to have part of the gravel driveway paved. Now, she can get around the farm independently and is looking forward to contributing to the farm financially, planning to sell produce, eggs, and meat at local markets and at an on-farm stand.
Maine AgrAbility worked with a client who was experiencing chronic pain because of arthritis in her knees. She had developed an ambitious business plan incorporating her production greenhouse with a café serving Mexican foods from locally sourced products. A vocational rehabilitation counselor worked with her to separate the agricultural production plan from the restaurant plan. Her VR counselor recommended that the greenhouse work be contracted out, and she received financial assistance to get a new commercial kitchen for her café.
We worked with a dairy farmer who was mauled by a bull in 1992 and who still experiences chronic pain. We conducted a farm tractor seating analysis on several of his tractors. VR funded the purchase of 5 air-cushioned tractor seats to relieve his pain from the vibration due to worn out seats. The AgrAbility report explained that each tractor had a specific use and couldn’t be interchanged, so VR funded all 5 seats.
Take a look at Colorado AgrAbility resources page : AgrAbility – A Program That Works. This is a recent report from the National AgrAbility Project that demonstrates clear successes across the country. Note that as a newly funded program, Maine AgrAbility is not included in this data, but we look forward to adding our work soon!
AgrAbility is funded by the USDA NIFA program. Here is an article posted to the USDA blog recently: AgrAbility Helps Keep Farmers, Ranchers with Disabilities on the Job (2/5/13).