ALCE-255NP AgrAbility Virginia promotes safety, wellness, and accessibility on the farm through education, rehabilitative services, and assistive technology. AgrAbility Virginia is a partnership program between Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Easterseals UCP. AgrAbility Virginia is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture. As a statewide program, AgrAbility Virginia works closely with Virginia's rehabilitation and agricultural service delivery system to increase organizational capacity and provide the best quality education and services for farmers across Virginia. AgrAbility Virginia especially works in partnership with the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to make recommendations for farmers regarding assistive technologies and new farm procedures and protocols that will make farming more comfortable and safer.
To evaluate our programming, we used a utilization-focused summative-mixed methods evaluation to quantify and qualify any changes in quality of life, hopefulness, farm safety, and other factors that have taken place as a result of a farmer’s participation in AgrAbility Virginia programming. This brief shares results from two surveys—one for farmers (n=9) and one for service providers (n=8)—as well as farmer interviews (n=3). Most AgrAbility farmer clients indicated that AgrAbility was useful and made positive changes in their lives: seven agreed or strongly agreed that with AgrAbility Virginia’s assistance, they are more hopeful in their ability to meet their farming goals (while two disagreed). Quality of life data was slightly mixed with majority positive outcomes reported. Overall, participants were satisfied with AgrAbility Virginia programming: seven out of nine participants indicated they were satisfied with AgrAbility Virginia’s services and all interview participants shared positive experiences in collaborating with AgrAbility, describing how the partnership contributed to greater independence. Further, service providers reported overwhelmingly positive experiences partnering with AgrAbility Virginia.