Tractor safety training courses for teen farm workers at Gering, Gordon; required by law

Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses will be offered at Gering and Gordon in June 2018, as well as and 10 other Nebraska locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm.

Federal law prohibits youth under 16 years old from using certain equipment on a farm unless parents or legal guardians own the farm. Certification received through a course provided by Nebraska Extension grants an exemption to the law, allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and work with certain mechanized equipment. 

Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend, but those under age 14 are not eligible to take the class.  Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.

The Gering class will take place June 14-15, 2018 at Legacy of the Plains Museum. To register, contact Scotts Bluff County Extension at 308-632-1480.

The Gordon Class is June 21, 2018 (second day; day one is online) at the fairgrounds. Students complete the first day at their convenience before attending the driving component of the course on-site. Contact Melissa Mracek at 308-327-2312 (or email ) to obtain the online log-in information to complete the first day of class.

 On-site classes begin at 8 a.m. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants. Cost of the course is $60, which includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunches.

Print and complete a registration found at, and submit with payment to the local Extension office location at least one week before the course (call the office for mailing address and instructions).

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.

The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two.

The second day will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course.

Instructors will offer an ATV simulator experience to learn about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs and UTVs.  Students will also complete homework assignments for the second day.