Required Youth Tractor Safety Training at 12 Sites This Summer

Figure 1. Aaron Yoder uses an ATV simulator at the National FFA Convention to provide safety training. Yoder will be one of the course instructors for the Youth Tractor Safety and Hazardous Occupations Course.
Figure 1. Aaron Yoder uses an ATV simulator at the National FFA Convention to provide safety training. Yoder and other instructors will use the simulator in Nebraska this summer when teaching Youth Tractor Safety and Hazardous Occupations Courses.

Required Youth Tractor Safety Training at 12 Sites This Summer

Youth Tractor Safety and Hazardous Occupations Courses will be held at 12 locations this year for 14- and 15-year-olds who will be working on a farm other than their own.  Anyone older than 15 years is also welcome to take the Nebraska Extension class, but those under age 14 are not eligible.

The class includes extensive training on tractor and ATV safety with classroom lessons and hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.

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 work with certain mechanized equipment. 

The most common causes of agricultural-related deaths in Nebraska are 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 includes classroom instruction and 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 written test before taking the driving test. Day two includes lessons on equipment operation and ATV safety and a physical driving test. 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 need to complete homework assignments for the second day.

Course instructors are staff members of the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, Ellen Duysen, Daniel Kent, and UNMC student Lucy Finocchiaro.

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.


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

Print and complete a registration found here or at, and submit with payment to the appropriate Extension office for the site location at least one week before the course. (Call the number listed for the particular site for further registration details.)

youth back up tractor
Figure 2. Youth taking the tractor safety course get practical hands-on training in various aspects of tractor and ATV operation in addition to classroom instruction. At two sites, online learning eliminates the day of classroom instruction.


All on-site classes begin at 8 a.m.; end times will vary, depending on the number of participants.

Training SiteContactTraining Dates
Fairgrounds, Geneva (402) 759-3712 May 22-23
Fairgrounds, Hastings (402) 461-7209 May 24-25
Fairgrounds, Kearney (308) 236-1235 May 29-30
Fairgrounds, Auburn (402) 274-4755 May 31-June 1
Evangelical Free, Ainsworth (402) 387-2213 June 5-6
Plains Equipment, O’Neill (402) 336-2760 June 7-8
WCREC, North Platte (308) 532-2683 June 12-13
Legacy Museum, Gering (308) 632-1480 June 14-15
Fairgrounds, Wayne (402) 375-3310 June 19-20
Fairgrounds, Gordon (308) 327-2312 June 21 (Day 1 online)
Fairgrounds, McCook (308) 345-3390 June 22 (Day 1 online)
Fairgrounds, Weeping Water (402) 267-2205 June 29-30

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