UNMC, Nebraska Extension offer tractor safety course to teens across Nebraska in 2020

Does your child, age 14-15, work on someone else’s farm or acreage nearby? Or do you employ a young person on your farm or acreage?

If the answer is yes, this little-known information is vital. Federal law prohibits youth under 16 years of age from using specific equipment on a farm unless parents or legal guardians own the farm. Certification received after a course provided by Nebraska Extension grants an exemption to the law, allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment.

The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Employing anyone uncertified under age 16 is a liability risk for farmers if those children operate such equipment.

Members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health will provide a tractor safety course in May and June of 2020 in 11 towns across Nebraska in partnership with Nebraska Extension. The course provides extensive training on tractor and all-terrain vehicle safety with a variety of hands-on activities. Making safety a priority and respecting agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.

Teens 14 years of age or older, who work on farms, are encouraged to register for the Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Course. Anyone under age 14 is not eligible to take the class.

Cost of the course is $60 and includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunch.

The first day of class will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, hands-on participation, concluding with a written test which students must pass to attend the second day of training.

The second day of training will include a driving test and equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course. Instructors will also offer education about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs, utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., Ellen Duysen; UNMC graduate student Alyssa Damke; and Nebraska Extension educators Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, Chandra Giles, and John Thomas.

Classes begin at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., depending on location, and end times vary depending on the number of participants.  If classes do not fill to the minimum of 10 participants, an option will be offered to do Day 1 training online and Day 2 in person.

Dates, training site locations, and site coordinator phone numbers are below:

May 26 & 27 – Ord, Fairgrounds (308) 728-5071;

May 28 & 29 – Wayne, Fairgrounds (402) 375-3310;

June 1 & 2 – O’Neill, Plains Equipment, (402) 336-2760;

June 3 (first day is online) – Gordon, Fairgrounds, (308) 327-2312;

June 4 & 5 – Ainsworth, Evangelical Free, (402) 387-2213;

June 9 & 10 – Geneva, Fairgrounds, (402) 759-3712;

June 11 & 12 – North Platte, West Central Research, Extension and Education Center, (308) 532-2683;

June 16 & 17 – Kearney, Buffalo County Extension Office (308) 236-1235;

June 18 & 19 – Hastings, Adams County Extension Office (402) 461-7209;

June 29 & 30 – Gering, Legacy Museum (308) 632-1480

July 1 & 2 – Weeping Water, Fairgrounds, (402) 267-2205;

For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension office above for guidance on where to send the registration form. 

 2020 Tractor Safety Training Registration

Extension is a division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cooperating with counties and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.