Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Lavonne Fox


Agriculture; Health Promotion; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Rural Health; Rural Population


Within the state of North Dakota, agriculture and farming are of the most essential and influential factors within the state's economy (Rathge et. al 2012). Rural communities are among the medically under-served areas within the United States; establishing the dire need of healthcare services (Hagglund et al., 1998; Schweitzer et al., 2011). A study conducted by Meyer and Fetsch (2006) deduced the four prominent disabilities affecting farmer's engagement in occupations as arthritis, spinal cord injury, amputation, and back injuries. Farmers, and their family members, are also at higher risk for work related stressors which may result in severely disabling conditions; which overall establishes an even greater need to provide services to this population (Schweitzer et al., 2011). In addition, Willkomm (2001) reviewed the difficulties farmers with disabilities encounter and the increased risks for secondary injury.

A literature review was conducted to identify areas of need for farmers; the performance skills and client factors potentially impacted by injury, and best practice assessments and interventions. Based on the results of the literature, a concise manual entitled An Agricultural Resource Guide for Occupational Therapists was developed. This resource guide is designed for occupational therapists to utilize when working with this population. It contains a review of assessments and intervention strategies to utilize with farmers within his or her context based on the Ecological Model and encompassing the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework. An Ecological Model perspective is utilized to consider the farmer and tasks within the natural work and home environment. Components from the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework were utilized throughout the manual to provide organization of multiple client factors and performance skills required by farmers to complete tasks.

North Dakota is a state dominated by agriculture; as such, it is essential to understand the population’s physical, mental, social, cultural, and temporal constraints. The is purpose of this project was to ensure that the needs of the farmer and family are being met and allow the farmer to remain active within the profession for as long as he/she so chooses.