Posted by: Kelley Dees | January 14, 2011

What is AgrAbility???

Many people have never heard of AgrAbility. I know that I had not heard of it before I had the interview for my job. So a lot of people have questions about it. What is it? What is our purpose? What exactly do we do? Hopefully, today’s blog post will answer those and many other questions. As always, if you have more questions for us, please feel free to comment with your question or email us for more info! We’d be glad to answer any questions you may have!

In Wyoming, there are a total of 11,000 ranches and farms. With an average of 2,736 acres per ranch/farm, Wyoming ranks first nationally in size. The national average is 418 acres. Seventy-nine percent of Wyoming’s farms and ranches are family or individually owned. The average age of Wyoming ranchers and farmers is 57 years. Unlike the rest of the general population, ranchers and farmers tend to remain in agriculture beyond the normal retirement age. It isn’t surprising to see farmers in their 70s still farming full-time.

AgrAbility has three priority missions:

  1. Education: Develop a service capacity through innovative educational programs designed to advance individual capabilities, adapt new technologies, and deliver program content through appropriate education venues.
  2. Networking and Information: Encourage networking to facilitate information sharing, the provision of services, and funding from individuals or organizations not employed by Wyoming AgrAbility.
  3. Consultative Services: Provide direct services to agricultural workers through individual consultations and other means.

Why is AgrAbility necessary in Wyoming?

Agricultural Behavioral Health:

  • Wyoming ranked first in the nation in suicide rate in 2006.
  • Farmers and ranchers commit suicide at twice the rate of the general population.
  • Farmers and ranchers experiencing high economic-related stress are three times more likely to experience a serious injury than farmers not experiencing high stress.
  • Risk factors for behavioral health issues in agriculture include age, physical health, depression, lack of healthcare, isolation, and full-time farming/ranching.

Access to Healthcare:

  • The rural West has the lowest availability of healthcare professionals of any region in the country.
  • Nationally, 90% of psychologists and psychiatrists and 80% of social workers work exclusively in metropolitan areas, which Wyoming is almost void of.
  • Frontier counties are defined as having fewer than seven persons per square mile. Seventeen of Wyoming’s 23 counties are considered frontier.
  • A higher percentage of people in frontier counties live in poverty.
  • The average full-time farmer spent more than $8,500 a year on healthcare costs, compared with a median $4,630 for those who received insurance through off-farm or ranch employment.

Disability and Injury:

  • More than 77,000 Wyoming residents self-identified themselves as having some form of disability. (17.1% of the state population).
  • With 34,464 people living on Wyoming farms and ranches, an extrapolation would estimate 5,893 Wyoming ranch and farm members are affected by a disability.
  • Farmers are twice as likely to sustain a disabling injury as the average U.S. worker and six times more likely to be killed on the job.
  • The most frequently reported types of disability conditions on the farm or ranch include: musculoskeletal (arthritis, back impairments, or amputations), hearing impairment, cardiovascular, and respiratory impairment.

If you have more questions about Wyoming AgrAbility and the services we provide, please feel free to contact us at any time!

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.



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