Sharon Small, Disability Emphasis Program Manager
What is considered a disability?
1. physical or mental impairment
that substantially limits one or more of
the major life activities of the individual;
2. a record of such an impairment
3. being regarded as having such an
What is considered
a physical impairment?
A physical impairment is any physiological
disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement,
or anatomical loss affecting one or more of
the following body systems:
neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense
organs, respiratory, cardiovascular,
reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary,
hemic and lymphatic, skin or endocrine.
What is considered
a mental impairment?
A mental impairment is any psychological
or mental disorder.
Examples include: mental retardation,
organic brain syndrome, emotional or
mental illness, specific learning disabilities.
What is NOT considered
The following are not considered disabilities:
• homosexuality and bisexuality;
• transvestitism, transsexuals, pedophilia, exhibitionism,
voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from
physical impairments, or other sexual behavior
• compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania;
• psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from
current illegal use of drugs.
I am disabled and my workplace prevents
me from doing my job effectively,
what can I do?
• Evaluate your work space.
Call the TARGET Center for a work station
assessment (see handout).
• Submit a request for
NRCS Policy on Disabilities –
It is the USDA-NRCS policy to make
reasonable accommodations to the known
physical or mental limitations of qualified
applicants or employees with disabilities,
except when such an accommodation would
cause an undue hardship to the agency.
Reasonable Accommodations are
defined as a change in the work
environment or the application process
that would enable a person with a
disability to enjoy equal employment
How do I request a
• Either written or oral request to
When should I request a
• 30 days from time of request
accommodation should be in place
unless there are extenuating
• Remember, anyone can request an
accommodation at anytime.
• Additional accommodations may be
needed in the future.
• Confidentially is maintained at all
• Nearly one out of every five Americans
has some type of disability. That is more
than 54 million people or 20% of our
Disability Facts (cont.):
• Some disabilities are visible and readily
Examples: wheelchairs, walkers,
crutches, or other assistive devices,
service animals or white canes.
• Many other disabling conditions are
invisible, such as deafness, hard of
hearing, mental illness, autism, heart or
Disability Facts (cont.):
• According to 2000 census report,
288,000 individuals working in
agriculture experience physical,
sensory or cognitive disabilities
that affect performing one or more
essential work tasks.
Disability Facts (cont.):
• Chances are, you have come in
contact with a farmer, rancher or
landowner with a disability.
with People Who Have A Disability
Use “People First Language”
People First Language describes what a
person has, not what the person is.
People First Language puts the person
before the disability
People First Language Examples
People with disabilities Handicapped, crippled
He has a cognitive disability He’s mentally retarded
She has autism She’s autistic
He has a physical disability He’s a quad, or crippled
She uses a wheelchair She’s wheelchair-bound
Accessible parking Handicapped parking
• It is perfectly acceptable to offer to
shake hands when you are
introduced to a person with a
disability, even when the disability
involves limited hand use or an
artificial limb. Shaking hands with
the left hand is also acceptable.
• You may offer to assist a person with a
disability, but wait until your offer has been
accepted. Then, ask for instructions on
how you can best assist.
• Address people with disabilities just as
you do everyone else in the same
circumstance. If everyone is being
addressed by first name, then by all
means address the person with a
disability the same way.
• Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you
happen to use common expressions
such as “See you later,” or “Did you hear
about that?” that seem to relate to a
• Ask questions if you are not sure about
what to do.
For more information online:
I have a farmer who has recently lost a limb,
is there anything
I can do to help?
YES! There are several resources
available for farmers, ranchers and
landowners with disabilities.
AgrAbility is one of the best.
• The AgrAbility Project was created to
assist people with disabilities employed
• The Project assists people involved in
production agriculture who work both on
small and large operations.
• Disabilities that AgrAbility assists with are
not limited to traumatic injuries. AgrAbility
assists farmers with all types of disabilities
Examples include: including chronic health conditions or
pain, such as arthritis, heart conditions, visual impairments,
hearing impairments, respiratory diseases, and traumatic
brain or spinal cord injuries.
• The goal of AgrAbility is to provide assistance and
resources to farmers with disabilities that allow them to
• AgrAbility provides individualized services, both on and
off the farm, to help create a comprehensive,
individualized plan to allow the disabled farmer to
continue farming. AgrAbility involves not only the
farmer, but the family, community, agricultural
professionals, medical professions and farm implement
• Statewide in Missouri, the following services
- Farm House Accessibility Surveys and Information
- Agricultural Worksite Accessibility Surveys
- Assistive Technology Resources
- Educational Materials
- Equipment Modification Information
- Independent Living Resources
- Technical Support
• Call: 1-800-995-8503
Civil Rights Contacts
Area 3 representative:
Jeff Gibson, Civil Engineer
(660) 747-8200 ext. 3
Soil & Water Conservation District representative:
Kenny Sampsel, District Soil Conservationist
(660) 646-6220 ext. 121
Missouri Department of Conservation representative:
Rose Marie Hopkins
Special Emphasis Programs
The Mission of Special Emphasis Programs is to
provide guidance to the Agency concerning equal
employment opportunity for all personnel, in
personnel management policies and practices, as
well as in NRCS sponsored programs and activities.
In Missouri, the Special Emphasis Program
Manager's (SEPMs) are available to provide help
and guidance to employees concerning employment
issues, EEO & CR, and also outreach and
assistance to agency customers.
Special Emphasis Program
American Indian/Alaska Native Federal Women’s
Montie Hawks Mary Williams
Black Emphasis Hispanic Emphasis
Drenda Williams Angie VanDyke
Sharon Small For more information online,
• The USDA nondiscrimination statement should
be used on all printed materials, PowerPoint
presentations, posters, direct mail pieces and
any other items for public distribution.
• The long version is to be used whenever
possible. The short version can be used if there
is no possible way the long version will fit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits
discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,
color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex,
marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual
orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or
because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any
public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all
programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means
for communication of program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202)
720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office
of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington,
D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382
(TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider