Does your child, age 14-15, work on a 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 through 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.
Tractor Safety Training
Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses takes place at various Nebraska locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm. 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 course consists of two days of instruction plus homework assignments. The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test. Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two. Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students will complete homework assignments that will be due on day two.
The second day will include a driving test, 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.
Two locations, Gordon and McCook, will offer online course instruction to replace the first day of the two-day course. Students complete this at their convenience before attending the driving component of the course on-site.
Class Schedule, Dates and Locations
All on-site classes begin at 8:00 A.M. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants. Dates, locations, and Site Coordinator phone numbers are as follows:
- May 30 & 31 – Kearney Fairgrounds (308) 236-1235
- June 1 & 2 – Auburn Fairgrounds (402) 245-4324
- June 6 & 7 – Valentine Fairgrounds (402) 376-1850
- June 13 & 14 – North Platte West Central Research and Extension Center (308) 532-2683
- June 15 & 16 – Gering Legacy Museum (308) 632-1480
- June 19 & 20 – Wayne Fairgrounds (402) 584-2234
- June 22 – Gordon Fairgrounds (308) 327-2312
- June 23 – McCook Fairgrounds (308) 345-3390
- July 10 & 11 – Grand Island College Park (308) 385-5088
Submit a Tractor Safety Registration Form to the Extension office location that participants will attend at least one week before the course. Call the specific location number listed above with any questions.
Cost of the course is $60, which includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunches.