UNMC, Nebraska Extension announce tractor safety course for teens at 6 sites

Teens 14 or 15 years of age who work on farms, or others who are interested in learning about safe farming practices, can register for a tractor safety training course offered at six locations across Nebraska from May 25 through June 10.

The course is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Extension and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

Students will complete the first day of the course either by attending a hands-on event at one of two locations or online through the eXtension Foundation Campus website. The hands-on events will take place May 24 in North Platte and May 26 in Grand Island. After successfully completing the hands-on event or the online course and testing, the required driving test will be offered at six locations across Nebraska from May 25 through June 10.

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.

Susan Harris, University of Nebraska Extension educator, said a common cause of agricultural-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska is overturned tractors and ATVs. She 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 event and the online course will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, including quizzes that 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 one of the two hands-on events.

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 also will 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, PhD, Ellen Duysen and Risto Rautiainen, PhD; and Nebraska Extension educators Randy Saner, Ron Seymour and John Thomas.

The cost of the course is $25 and includes educational materials and supplies. Payment will be made at the time of the driving exam. Only checks and cash are accepted.

Hands-on training, driving dates, site locations and site coordinator contact information is below.

Hands-On Safety Days

May 24 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Road, North Platte, Randy Saner randy.saner@unl.edu, and Vicki Neidhardt, 308.532.2683, vicki.neidhardt@unl.edu

May 26 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Road, Grand Island, Sarah Polak, 308.385.3967, spolak2@unl.edu

Tractor Driving Days

May 25 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Road, North Platte, Randy Saner randy.saner@unl.edu, Vicki Neidhardt, 308.532.2683, vicki.neidhardt@unl.edu

June 6 – Akrs Equipment, 49110 US Highway 20, O’Neill, Debra Walnofer, 402.336.2760, dwalnofer2@unl.edu

June 7 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail #8500, Gering, Stacy Brown, 308.632.1480, sbrown7@unl.edu

June 8 – AKRS Equipment, 44098 Hwy 2, Broken Bow, (Todd Sutherland), Denise Daake, 308.872.6831, denise.daake@unl.edu

June 9 – Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Ave., Hastings, Ron Seymour ron.seymour@unl.edu, Twila Bankson 402-461-7209, twila.bankson@unl.edu

June 10 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th St., Weeping Water, Sandy Prall, 402.267.2205, sprall2@unl.edu

For questions, contact the administrator listed above at your driving site or contact Ellen Duysen ellen.duysen@unmc.edu.

To register, visit https://cvent.me/44ExVl

Nebraska Extension is a division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cooperating with counties and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

We are Nebraska Medicine and UNMC. Our mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.

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