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 in 12 towns across Nebraska in partnership with Nebraska Extension. The course provides extensive training on tractor and all-terrain vehicles safety with a variety of hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of ‘safety first’ and respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.
Teens 14 or 15 years of age 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.
Federal law prohibits youth under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through the course 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 deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs, said Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska Extension educator in Kearney and Franklin counties. “Employing uncertified youth, under age 16, who will be operating tractors and ATVs is a liability risk for farmers,” she said.
Cost of the course is $60 and includes educational materials and 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 offer an ATV simulator experience about safe behavior and laws for ATVs and utility-task vehicles (UTVs).
Instructors for the course are members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., Ellen Duysen, Daniel Kent, and UNMC graduate student Lucy Finocchiaro.
Classes begin at 8 a.m. End times vary depending on the number of participants.
Dates, training site locations and site coordinator phone numbers are below:
May 22 & 23 – Geneva, Fairgrounds (402) 759-3712;
May 24 & 25 – Hastings, Fairgrounds (402) 461-7209;
May 29 & 30 – Kearney, Fairgrounds (308) 236-1235;
May 31 & June 1 – Auburn, Fairgrounds, (402) 274-4755;
June 5 & 6 – Ainsworth, Evangelical Free Church, (402) 387-2213
June 7 & 8 – O’Neill, Plains Equipment (402) 336-2760;
June 12 & 13 – North Platte, West Central Research and Extension Center, (308) 532-2683;
June 14 & 15 – Gering, Legacy Museum (308) 632-1480;
June 19 & 20 – Wayne, Fairgrounds (402) 375-3310;
June 20 online & June 21 at Gordon, Fairgrounds (308) 327-2312;
June 21 online & June 22 at McCook, Fairgrounds (308) 345-3390;
June 29 & 30 – Weeping Water, Fairgrounds, (402) 267-2205.
For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension Office above. The registration form can be found at https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/kearney.