Nebraska AgrAbility graphic image

Serving the Needs of Nebraska's Farm and Ranch Families Affected by Disabilities.

Registration now open for the 2015 OT-PT Training Workshop

 Rehabilitating Disabled Farmers and Ranchers:
                          A Priority in Rural Nebraska

Occupational and physical therapists are invited to "Rehabilitating Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities." A day-long seminar held each spring at different locations across the state. It is sponsored by the Nebraska AgrAbility Project, a joint effort of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and Easter Seals Nebraska. Continuing Educational Units will be available for the seminar. The 2015 seminar will be in Kearney on April 23rd from 8:00-5:00 at the Nebraska Extension Office, 1400 East 34th Street. Registration forms are available by clicking the link below or by contacting, Sharry Nielsen, UNL Extension Educator, (308) 832-0645, or .


Most do not realize it, but when a farmer or rancher is discharged from care following an injury or serious illness, he or she is not only returning home, but is also returning to an industrial work site.
Occupational therapists, physical therapists, OT assistants and PT assistants can play an important role in preparing farmers and ranchers to return to their homes. When home includes the workplace, special considerations are needed to ensure a safe transition.

"Rehabilitating Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers with Disabilities" is designed to help these health care providers become more competent in their care to the agricultural population they see on a regular basis. Lead instructor for the seminar is Dr. Christine Hutchinson, PT, DPT. Hutchinson is a physical therapist at St. Francis Medical Center in West Point, NE. She has extensive experience treating diverse patient populations. Practicing in the acute care as well as rural settings has enabled Christine to treat a variety of diverse patients. UNL Extension faculty and ESN staff will also teach portions of the seminar.

In 2014 occupational and physical therapists attended the workshop at the Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center in Gretna. During the day the participants were able to go to the farm of AgrAbility client Ed Sholting to see first hand the accomodations that were made so he could continue to farm. This seminar is held once a year usually in the spring the location varies each year.


AgrAbility: From Obstacle to Achievement

Hub Staff Writer
MINDEN — Kyle Jensen knew the wood floor of a trailer he used on his farm northwest of Minden to haul water to the sprayer needed to be fixed, but he just didn't get around to it.
Then in 2001, he fell through a hole in floor, rupturing a disk in his back. After surgery to repair the disk, he had nerve damage and constant pain.
"It was always a hinderance," Jensen said. "And I had aggressive arthritis that then wasn't controlled by meds."  (click here for entire article)

Farmers - Prevent or Reduce Pain

Men and women in the farming population often experience pain during daily chores and throughout the day (low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, arthritis, and so on). One might say that pain is just "part of the job" when it comes to farming. However, this does not have to be the case.
There are countless things farmers can put into practice during their daily routines that can help prevent pain, or reduce it. Getting into the habit of stretching every morning is a great way to prepare the muscles for the physically-demanding chores farmers complete on a regular basis.
"Safe Lifting" is ensuring the body is in the proper position for lifting an object, such as a bag of feed or a pipe. Usually, when we're in a hurry, we just bend over and pick up something without giving a thought to whether we are keeping our backs safe.
You can download the daily stretching routine as well as safe lifting techniques by clicking on the links below.

Safe Lifting                              Daily Stretching Routine

If you have questions about these stretching exercises, or for further information regarding muscle and joint pain prevention, contact Anna Lewandowski at .

Nebraska AgrAbility Project

Since 1995 Nebraska AgrAbility has helped individuals with disabilities overcome barriers to continue in their chosen agricultural profession. The program collaborates with community professionals to:

  • Modify farm and ranch operations
  • Adapt equipment
  • Increase farmstead accessibility
  • Provide financial counseling
  • Identify funding sources
  • Coordinate community services.
  • The National AgrAbility Project and its state programs are supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a competitive grant process.

The National AgrAbility Project and its state programs are supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a competitive grant process.

New! National AgrAbility YouTube Channel. 

Watch hope in action.

AgrAbility: It's About Hope! The USDA-sponsored AgrAbility Program serves farm families touched by disability. A disabling injury, illness, or lifelong disability can challenge anyone's hope, especially when the individual has been engaged in the physically demanding occupation of agricultural production. AgrAbility's mission -- for the last 20 years and into the future -- is to enhance and protect quality of life and preserve livelihoods, and support and promote growth and independence.

Nebraska AgrAbility is a joint effort of the University of Nebraska Extension and Easter Seals Nebraska. This material is based upon the work supported by the Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under special project number #2006-41590-03461.

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