Little known service assists Utah farmers with disabilities

agrability.org

LOGAN — A service offered through Utah State University Extension is one that many people may not have heard of. It’s the AgrAbility program. On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, Randall Bagley of AgrAbility of Utah said it’s been around for a while.

“AgrAbility is a program that is about 30 years old and we are funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, we’re one of only 20 states that have the program so we feel pretty fortunate. Utah has had the program since the mid-90’s and we’ve had it consecutively,” according to Bagley.

He said it’s based on a grant – so every four years they must reapply, and they’re currently in the last year of their grant so they hope to keep it going.

AgrAbility is part of a national program designed to help farmers, ranchers and their family members remain in agriculture when facing limitations due to aging, disease, injury, illness, or other disability.

“And we do that by helping them obtain assistive technology and that’s any type of device or tool that’s going to make it easier to farm or ranch,” Bagley explained. “It might be as simple as adding an additional tractor step so they can get up into their cab. It may be something like upgrading their tractor seat so they have one with better suspension that doesn’t beat them up all day.”

Bagley said they don’t have the funding to do that. The program is free and confidential but they rely on other sources and it’s mostly vocational rehabilitation who he said have been very good to work with.

He said their program operates as somewhat of a middle man in the process. If you know someone who might benefit from the program, they can get more information at AgrAbility.usu.edu.

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