2023 Tractor Safety Training for Teens Kicks Off in May
Nebraska Extension and Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, have announced plans for the annual “tractor safety” training courses scheduled at eight sites across Nebraska in late May and early June.
Students will complete the first day of the course either by attending a hands-on event in North Platte or Grand Island, or online through the eXtension Foundation Campus website. The hands-on events will take place on Monday, May 22 in North Platte, and Tuesday, May 30 in Grand Island. After successfully completing the hands-on event or the online course and testing, the required driving test will be offered at eight locations across Nebraska from Tuesday, May 23 through Thursday, June 8, 2023.
Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, are encouraged to register for the certification course. Students under age 14 are not eligible for certification but the hands-on events are open to everyone in the community. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
Federal law prohibits children 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.
Randy Saner, University of Nebraska Extension educator, reports that a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. He emphasized that this course is designed to train students how to avoid these incidents as well as many other hazards on the farm and ranch.
The hands-on events and the online course will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, including quizzes which students must pass to attend the driving portion of training. Once a student is registered, they will be sent instructions, materials, course paperwork and a link to the online course if they will not be attending a hands-on event.
The onsite driving training and exam 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, Ellen Duysen and Risto Rautiainen; and Nebraska Extension educators Randy Saner, Ron Seymour, and John Thomas.
The cost of the course is $35 and includes educational materials, the online learning link (if applicable), and supplies. Payment will be made at the time of the driving exam. Only checks and cash can be accepted.
Hands-on training, driving dates, site locations, and site coordinator contact information is below:
Hands-On Safety Days
(If not attending a Hands-On Safety Day, online course must be completed.)
- May 22 — Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd., North Platte. Contacts: Randy Saner and Vicki Neidhardt, 308-532-2683.
- May 30 — Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd., Grand Island. Contacts: Randy Saner and Vicki Neidhardt, 308-532-2683.
Tractor Driving Days
- May 23 — Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd., North Platte. Contacts: Randy Saner and Vicki Neidhardt, 308-532-2683.
- May 31 — Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd., Grand Island. Contacts: Randy Saner and Vicki Neidhardt, 308-532-2683.
- June 1 — Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail, Gering. Contacts: John Thomas or Stacy Brown, 308-632-1480.
- June 2 — AKRS Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill. Contact: Debra Walnofer, 402-336-2760.
- June 5 — Gordon Fairgrounds, 613 E. 3rd Street in Gordon. Contacts: Marie Nelson, 308-327-2312, or John Thomas.
- June 6 — Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave., Hastings. Contact: Ron Seymour, 402-461-7209.
- June 7 — Cuming County Fairgrounds, W. Washington St., West Point. Contact: Mary Jo Lueckenhoff or Melissa Hagemeister, 402-372-6006.
- June 8 — Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th St, Weeping Water. Contact: Sandy Prall, 402-267-2205.
If you have questions, please contact the administrator listed above at your driving site or contact Ellen Duysen.