Monday, September 27, 2010

Idaho Center For Assistive Technology

Welcome Statement
The Idaho Center for Assistive Technology is the leading authority on tools designed to make life easier for everyone.  These tools are critical in the lives of people with a disability because they facilitate a more independent, productive life.  Our organization shares our knowledge base with and provides direct services to all Idahoans with the fundamental goal of building a more successful, independent Idaho.

Commitment Statement
Your support enables us to work for positive change in the community by fulfilling lives through technology.

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The Idaho AgrAbility Project is a cooperative effort between ICAT of Idaho and the two partner agencies listed below:
University of Idaho Cooperative ExtensionUniversity of Idaho Cooperative Extension System (UI-CES)
PO Box 440904
Moscow, Idaho 83844-0904
Phone: 208.885.7627
UI-CES Website:
Idaho Assistive Technology Project (IATP)
121 West Sweet Ave.
Moscow, ID 83843
Toll-Free Phone: 1.800.432.8324
IATP Website:

About AgrAbility

Downtown Midvale Idaho, a farming communityThe AgrAbility Project was created to assist people with disabilities employed in production agriculture. Congress authorized the AgrAbility Project in the 1990 Farm Bill and the program was launched in 1991 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State, Research, Education, and Extension Service (USDA-CSREES). The AgrAbility Project is administered by CSREES and includes a National AgrAbility Project that provides training, technical assistance, and information to state and regional AgrAbility projects. The national project is based at the University of Wisconsin.
Each state and regional AgrAbility project involves a partnership between a cooperative extension at a land grant university and a nonprofit organization that serves people with disabilities. For a current list of AgrAbility projects, please visit the National and State AgrAbility Projects page of the national project's website. The Idaho AgrAbility Project includes three partners: the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension System (UI-CES), the Idaho Assistive Technology Project (IATP), both in Moscow, Idaho, and Idaho Center for Assistive Technology (ICAT) in Boise.
The grainery in Grangeville, IdahoAgrAbility engages Extension Service educators, disability experts, rural professionals, and volunteers in offering an array of services, including:
  • Identifying people with disabilities who are working in agriculture and referring them to appropriate resources;
  • Providing on-site technical assistance for modifying operations and buildings, as well as adapting and using equipment and tools;
  • Offering agriculture-based education to prevent further injuries;
  • Training rehabilitation, healthcare, and Extension Service professionals to better assist farmers and ranchers with disabilities; and
  • Developing and coordinating peer support networks.
Since 1991, confidential on-site consultations conducted by AgrAbility staff have provided hundreds of clients with information needed to make informed decisions. Training sessions and materials provided by the projects have helped educate thousands of rural healthcare and agricultural professionals. Peer support networks have facilitated the sharing of information and experiences among agricultural workers with disabilities. Public awareness has increased through hundreds of events, allowing more people to be helped through the program.
Through all of these efforts, the AgrAbility Project helps farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers with disabilities to continue their agricultural endeavors and remain vital rural business and community members.
two cows

This material is based upon work supported by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service under special project number 2006-41590-03435.


Information and Referral

A wheat filed in Grangeville, IdahoAgrAbility provides information about farming or ranching with a disability and how to prevent further injuries and disabling conditions. It also offers referral information on services available for farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers, in agriculture, rehabilitation, and their communities.

On-Site Assessment

AgrAbility conducts on-site home or agricultural worksite assessments and recommends ways to continue farming or ranching. Recommendations can include how to:
  • Restructure work tasks or agricultural operations;
  • Explore alternative agricultural enterprises;
  • New steps were added to a tractorModify farm equipment and tools; and
  • Acquire assistive technology related to agriculture.
The AgrAbility Project does not purchase equipment or pay for modifications for clients, but information regarding possible funding sources can be provided.


Custom Equipment

Idaho AgrAbility creates custom equipment with a focus on economical construction.  For more information, to volunteer, or to request a piece of custom equipment please visit our Self Built Custom Equipment page.

Peer-to-Peer Network

AgrAbility connects farmers and ranchers with disabilities to others who have coped with the same challenges through a peer-to-peer network. Individuals willing to share their experiences and the knowledge they have gained can be a valuable resource for others.

Ranchers on horseback

Training and Education

AgrAbility provides training and education about farming and ranching with a disability for rehabilitation and healthcare professionals. Articles, papers, workshops, seminars, and distance education are used to help these professionals better serve clients who work in production agriculture.

For More Information

Contact AgrAbility through Idaho Center for Assistive Technology (ICAT) at 1.888.289.3259 or 208.377.8070 if you have any questions about these services, or if you would like to schedule an assessment or training. You can also e-mail Idaho AgrAbility at

News & Events


Tom HolmTom Holm, an Idaho farmer, is the focus of the National AgrAbility Project's newsletter. His story is an inspiring one, and you can also learn more about the Idaho AgrAbility Project and farming in Idaho, because the entire issue focuses on Idaho.

Advisory Committee Meetings

A list of committee members (PDF) is available.

 What’s New

Looking Back

  • If you are not familiar with AgrAbility, we suggest you take a moment and review the About AgrAbility web page or visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page. For information regarding the National AgrAbility Project, please visit Purdue.
  • AgrAbility Quarterly Summer 2008 – The Roots of AgrAbility
    On June 18, 2008 the Farm Bill was reauthorized by Congress, securing another eight years of funding for AgrAbility. To mark this occasion we are looking back on the past seventeen years of the USDA’s funding of AgrAbility, and our combined efforts to assist people with disabilities involved in production agriculture and their families.
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AT Resources

Assistive technology (AT) commonly refers to both assistive and adaptive devices, which may be either high or low technology, and various services such as evaluations, fabrication and training. Examples of high through low technology assistive devices which farmers and ranchers with disabilities might find beneficial, could range from mounted chair lifts to easy grip hand tools respectively.

Database Resources

Resource Sheets

Assistive Technology Resouce ideas grouped into categories.

Accessible Gardening

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

  • Ultimate All-Terrain Test
    Successful Farming magazine editors took a week to test and evaluate several ATVs. See their comments and specific ATV comparison test results. (2/08)



  • Aquaculture and Disability, PDF
    So you think aquaculture is a new concept? You might be surprised to learn that the Japanese, Chinese, Romans, Egyptians, and Mayan Indians all farmed fish for food prior to 2000 BC. (04/05)


  • “Farming with Arthritis” (link to the streaming video)
    Researchers at the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (MARRTC) put together this educational video (also available on DVD) to help people in the agricultural industry deal with arthritis. The video titled “Farming with Arthritis”, features farmers in real-life scenarios such as building, planting crops, working with equipment and performing other physical tasks that demonstrate the types of movements performed daily. It is also a useful tool for physicians and other health-care providers in better understanding the challenges specific to farming population. (3/08)
    This video was produced by the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (MARRTC) and Missouri AgrAbility with a grant from the U. S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research under special project number H133B980022, 1998-2003. For a copy of the video, contact Missouri AgrAbility at 1-800-995-8503.
  • Hand in Hand
    (Link takes you to the Farm Journal web site, for an article written about farming with arthritis in their February, 2003 issue.)
  • Products and packaging that have received a favorable review and carry the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation Logo (08/04).

Farm and Ranch Tools

Fencing, Cattle Guards, Corals, etc.

Grain Bins

Hay Making

Poultry Farming


Skid Steer Loaders

  • Controls Refine Great Skid-Steer Power
    Cab and control refinements put a variety of weights, horsepowers and hydraulic capabilities at your fingertips in 1,600- to 2,200-pound skid-steer loaders. Article features and compares 32 models of mid-sized skid-steers. May 1, 2006, By Larry Stewart, Executive Editor. (Link takes you to the article posted on the Construction Equipment web site. 6/06)

Utility Vehicles

  • How do Utility Vehicles measure up?
    (Link takes you to the Farm Industry News web site, for a comparison review of eight popular utility vehicles, October 2002.)
  • Side by side: Utility vehicles (03/05)
    Purchasing a utility vehicle can help manage many projects around your farm or ranch with ease. The utility vehicle market is exploding with a variety of manufacturers, and new ones continue to enter the field. Long-time makers continue to hone their products with new features. Check out photos, specifications and prices on new models from 18 manufacturers, from Bobcat to Yamaha.
  • Load Warriors
    “Easier to operate than an ATV, a good utility vehicle (UV) can haul moderate loads, scramble over terrain and get you from farm to field quickly … ” (Link takes you to the Farm Industry Web site, where 10 farmers from around the country review 10 different utility vehicles, November 2005.)
  • The Mid-January, 2006, issue of the Farm Journal Magazine had a great comparison article about utility vehicles titled “Two By Two, Utility vehicles take on the farm market”.
    (Link takes you to the article posted on the AgWeb web site. 3/06)
  • Ultimate All-Terrain Test:” Successful Farming’s team of trail riders and engineers put several utility vehicles (UVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) through a series of tests. What they found may be of interest to AgrAbility staff and/or farmers and ranchers with a disability when considering these vehicles (2/08).

Wheel Chairs

Plans for Equipment Modifications

Information regarding equipment modifications that AgrAbility Staff might find useful.
  • Hand Operated Clutch Lever
  • The National AgrAbility Project staff have been assisting the Distributed Collaborative Product Development Project hosted at Georgia Tech University with their “GALE – Gator with Assistive Living Enhancements” project. The GALE project is developing a hand control, a wheelchair lift, and a pivoting seat for a John Deere Gator utility vehicle. (1/05)

    • (8/05) Georgia Tech has successfully wrapped up the GALE (Gator with Assistive Living Enhancements) project with a live demonstration of 3 working prototypes! The results can be viewed at
  • Northend-Mobility provided the National AgrAbility Project with information about modifications they made to a John Deere lawn tractor and Gator for a C5-6 quad. For more information and pictures of these modifications, please check out the links below (3/05):

  • The Colorado AgrAbility Project recently completed modifications on a Kawasaki Mule for
    a client. Read about the project and view pictures by checking out theWord documented linked below (6/06):

  • Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) students at UW-Madison design a hand control for a utility vehicle working in cooperation with the National AgrAbility Project. You can preview the report here and look at their design (7/06).

  • Freshman Student Design Projects (2/07)

Related Technolgy Web Sites

Funding Resources

  • The Guide to Financing Business and/or Assistive Technology (PDF) offers funding resources available through public disability-related funding sources, private disability-related programs or charitable organizations, USDA, and the Small Business Administration. The Guide also provides numerous examples of how AgrAbility clients used the funding awarded (1/08)

Liability Issues

The National AgrAbility Project, 2002, 2003, and 2006 National Training Workshops (NTW) each had a presentation covering liability issues. Some of this information has been collected and is presented on the liability resources web page.
However, we would like to know what other issues regarding “liability” you may have. Please contact us or send us your thoughts using the Contact Us page.

Secondary Injuries and Illnesses

Recently (2006-2007), the National AgrAbility staff conducted focus groups and interviewed several farmers and ranchers who had experienced a secondary injury or illness. This purpose of this effort was to better understand the causes of the secondary injury or illness, and to also assist in the creation of educational material to help prevent future injury or illness. Most of the farmers and ranchers in the focus groups or who were interviewed had experienced a leg/arm amputation, or were using a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury.
Below are three documents which summarize some of our findings to date. We hope you find this information beneficial.
This next document summarizes some questions you may wish to ask your prosthetist.
The information below was gathered by the Easter Seal Society of Iowa’s Farm Family Rehabilitation Management (FaRM) Program a few years ago. The documents pertain to Secondary Injury and Illnesses, and are collected here for your convenience and information only. (Note: Six of the following links take you to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], National Ag Safety Database [NASD] web site. The remaining link takes you to the Extension-AgrAbility web site at Iowa State.)

Slips and Falls

If you would like to share your ideas, comments, or be interviewed during a future focus group session, please contact Contact Us.