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.
Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses take place at 12 Nebraska locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm. Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend, but those under age 14 are not eligible to take the class. Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities. Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment are primary goals of the course.
The first day of classroom instruction includes 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 test before taking the driving test on day two. The second day will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons. 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 complete homework assignments for the second day.
All on-site classes begin at 8:00 A.M. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants. Training site locations closest to us, Site Coordinator contact numbers, and dates of training are as follows:
Training Site Location Site Coordinator Dates of Training
Fairgrounds, Geneva (402) 759-3712 May 20 & 21
Fairgrounds, Nelson (402) 225-2092 May 22 & 23
Extension Office, Grand Island (308) 385-5088 May 28 & 29
Cost of the course is $60, which includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunches. Print and complete a registration found at kearney.unl.edu, and submit with payment to the appropriate Extension office location at least one week before the course (call the specific location number listed above for mailing address and instructions).