Help Available to Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities

Help Available to Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities

June 27, 2008

Farming is the most dangerous profession in Nebraska, said Becki Koehler, program manager for Nebraska AgrAbility and Easter Seals Nebraska.

When a farmer or rancher returns home after a hospital visit, he or she returns to an industrial worksite, Koehler said.A lot of our farm and ranch population may be working with the limitations of a disability or chronic illness, Koehler said. An appropriation in the 1990 farm bill started a rehabilitation program specifically for farmers and ranchers.

In 1994 Easter Seals Nebraska partnered with UNL Extension and received funding to establish Nebraska AgrAbility.

Nebraska AgrAbility is a rehabilitation program for farmers and ranchers and their families.

"We work with the primary producer, but sometimes also their families," Koehler said. "We access resources for anyone in Nebraska who is involved in production agriculture."

Nebraska AgrAbility's primary service to agricultural producers includes direct on-farm assessments of needs.

"We visit the farm or ranch, learn about the tasks that need to be performed and help the client find products and services, equipment, funding sources and other disability services that will help them do their work," Koehler explained.Resources are limited, so Nebraska AgrAbility works closely with UNL Extension, Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation, the Social Security Administration, the Veteran's Administration and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

To learn more about Nebraska AgrAbility or to get services, call the Easter Seals Nebraska office in Hastings, Nebraska, (800) 471-6425, Ext. 5.

Faith Colburn
Communications Specialist
West Central REC, North Platte