The course on the safety of tractors and agricultural machinery is open for registration

LINCOLN, Nebraska (University of Nebraska Medical Center)—Teens aged 14 or 15 who work on farms or others who are interested in learning tractor and farm equipment safety can register for a safety training course offered at seven locations. through Nebraska from May 22 to June 8.

The course is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Advanced 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 by attending a hands-on activity at one of two locations or online through the optional Foundation Campus website. Practice events will take place May 22 in North Platte and May 30 in Grand Island. Upon completion of a practice event or online course and testing, the mandatory driving test will be offered at seven locations across Nebraska from May 23 to June 8.

Federal law prohibits children under 16 from using certain equipment on a farm unless the farm is owned by their parents or legal guardians. However, the certification obtained during the course provides an exemption from the law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and perform field work with special mechanized equipment.

Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., associate professor at the UNMC College of Public Health, reports that overturned tractors, ATVs and entangled equipment are a common cause of farm-related injuries and deaths in Nebraska. He emphasized that this course teaches students to avoid such incidents and many other dangers on the farm and ranch.

The hands-on activity and online course will cover the required elements of the National Tractor and Machine Safe Operation Program, including quizzes that students must complete in order to participate in the driving part of the training. Upon student registration, facilitators will send instructions, materials, course papers, and a link to the online course if they are not attending one of the two practice sessions.

The driving education and on-site exam will include a driving test, equipment handling, and ATV safety lessons. Students must demonstrate the ability to hitch and unhitch equipment and drive a tractor and trailer as part of a standard course. Instructors will also offer training in emergency preparedness, personal protective equipment, safe behavior, and laws for ATVs, utility vehicles (UTVs), and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

The course instructors are members of the Center for Agricultural Safety and Health of the Central States: Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., Ellen Duisen, M.P.H., Risto Rautiainen, Ph.D., and graduate student Sara Tucker; and Nebraska Extension faculty members Randy Saner, Ron Seymour, and John Thomas.

The course costs $35 and includes study materials and supplies. Participants can pay at the time of registration or before the driving test. Only checks and cash are accepted for payment.

Practical training, driving dates, site locations and site coordinator contact information are listed below.

Practical Safety Days (If you are not attending Practical Safety Day, an online course is required.)

  • May 22 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd., North Platte, Nebraska.

Contact: Randy Saner ([email protected]) and Vicki Neidhardt ([email protected]) at 308-532-2683.

  • May 30 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd., Grand Island

Contact: Randy Saner ([email protected]) and Vicki Neidhardt ([email protected]) at 308-532-2683.

Tractor driving days

  • May 23 – Lincoln County Extension Office, 348 West State Farm Rd., North Platte

Contact: Randy Saner ([email protected]) and Vicki Neidhardt ([email protected]) at 308-532-2683.

  • May 31 – Raising Nebraska, 501 East Fonner Park Rd., Grand Island

Contact: Randy Saner ([email protected]) and Vicki Neidhardt ([email protected]) at 308-532-2683.

  • June 1 – Plains Heritage Museum, Old Oregon Trail, 2930 Gering

Contact: John Thomas ([email protected]) or Stacy Brown ([email protected]) at 308-632-1480

  • June 2 – AKRS Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 at O’Neill

Contact: Debra Walnofer ([email protected]), tel. 402.336.2760

  • June 6 – Adams County Extension, 2975 South Baltimore Avenue, Hastings

Contact: Ron Seymour ([email protected]), tel. 402-461-7209

  • June 7 – Cuming County Fairgrounds, W. Washington Street, West Point

Contact: Mary Jo Lueckenhoff ([email protected]) or Melissa Hagemeister ([email protected]) at 402-372-6006

  • June 8 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8400 144th Street, Weeping Water

Contact: Sandy Prall ([email protected]) at 402-267-2205

Follow this link to the registration form.

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