GERING – 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 5 sites across Nebraska in early June.
Students will complete the first day of the course online through the extension Foundation Campus website. After successfully completing the online course and testing, the required driving test will be offered at five locations across Nebraska June 7-11, 2021, including Gering on June 8.
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 Course. Anyone under age 14 is not eligible to take the class.
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, reports that 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 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 a training manual, course paperwork and a link to the online course.
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).
In order to protect students and trainers, the number of students on site will be limited to allow proper social distancing. All students and trainers will be required to wear a mask at all times during instruction and driving. Masks will be provided along with instructions for proper use. Equipment, steering wheels, control knobs, and hitches will be disinfected before and after each student completes their testing. Students who have had a fever or persistent cough within 10 days of testing will be required to reschedule their driving test. Additional driving tests may be added later in the summer to accommodate students who are unable to attend the scheduled trainings.
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 Troy Ingram, Randy Saner, and John Thomas.
Cost of the hybrid course is $40 and includes educational materials, the online learning link, and supplies.
More information on the 2020 Tractor Safety Course can be found at kearney.unl.edu.
Driving dates, site locations, and site coordinator contact information is below:
June 7 – Akrs Equipment, 49110 US Hwy 20 in O’Neill, contact Debra Walnofer, 402-336-2760, [email protected]
June 8 – Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail No. 8500 in Gering, contact Stacy Brown, 308-632-1480, [email protected]
June 9 – West Central Research & Extension Center, 402 West State Farm Rd., North Platte, contact Randy Saner or Vicki Neidhardt 308-532-2683, [email protected]
June 10 – Hall County Extension, 3180 W. Hwy 34, Grand Island, contact Crystal Beissenherz, 308-385-5088, [email protected]
June 11 – Cass County Fairgrounds, 8420 144th St, Weeping Water, contact Sandy Prall, 402-267-2205, [email protected]
For more information or to register, contact the appropriate Extension staff member above. Visit kearney.unl.edu for a registration form.