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Ohio AgrAbility

Ohio State University Extension


Universal Design on the Farm

While Universal Design concepts may start in the home, they can be utilized in all areas of the farmstead including the garage, farm shop, equipment shed, livestock facilities, and feed lots. In the agricultural setting where there is both household and occupational operations occurring simultaneously, and where multiple household members are affected by modifications, the AgrAbility program utilizes features from the seven principles of Universal Design in their recommendations.

The goal of using Universal Design concepts for existing farmstead is not to entirely redesign the farmstead but to make a range of changes that result in the farmstead being a comfortable, user- friendly, and a safer place to live and work. The AgrAbility program combines knowledge from the assistive technology discipline with the practical needs of a farmstead environment. In many instances the use of Universal Design concepts complements the assistive technology modifications.

Applying universal design techniques throughout the entire farmstead can maximize safety for all individuals and promote independence for those with physical or mobility limitations. During on-farm consultations with AgrAbility program staff, designs are incorporated to the specific case studies that matches the individual and the type of farm operation. Universal Design anticipates the reality and incorporates solutions to change existing situations on the farmstead, into preferred ones. Universal Design can improve the usability of the farmstead by creating an environment that works seamlessly with assistive technology to allow individuals to maintain productivity and maximize safety.