Youth who want to learn more about farm and tractor safety or would like to work with equipment with over 20 horsepower off of their family farms, have an opportunity to participate in U of M Extension’s Tractor and Farm Safety Certification program.  This hybrid program combines online learning with hands-on activities and is designed for students 14 years and older. Upon completion or the program, students receive a certificate of training from the US Department of Labor.

      The cost to take this course is $25.  Once registered, students can work at their own pace for the online portion over a one to two-week period.  The in-person portion of the training is two days long. It includes a written exam and educational talks by Extension Educators and experienced community members. The hands-on portion covers practice time working with the equipment.  The final exam includes a driver skills test on a marked course and a demonstration of the student’s ability hitching and unhitching an implement.

    The curriculum for this course has been adapted to Minnesota laws and online learning with permission from Penn State Extension’s National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program.  

    This curriculum has six modules:

    1) The Background: This first module covers health & safety regulations, worker compensation laws, and protection standards and environmental regulations.

    2) Basic Safety:  Students will learn to assess and respond to hazards on the farm by learning appropriate age-related tasks, review safety equipment and common injuries involving youth and how to perceive risks.  They will also learn how to respond to emergency situations with training in first aid and CPR.

    3) Agricultural Hazards: Awareness of hazards is the first step to safety.  This module will cover multiple hazards found on a farm such as mechanical, respiratory, electrical, and chemical and fire, as well as confined spaces and age appropriate tasks working with livestock.  

    4) The Tractor: General characteristics and operating a tractor are covered in both the online and in-person trainings.  Tractor hazards such as overturns, runovers and PTO entanglements are emphasized in this module.  The North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT) Operations chart will be covered.  

    5) Implements: Learning how to hitch and unhitch implements, as well as maneuvering a tractor forwards and backwards while pulling an implement will be covered in the online lessons as well as the in-person driving skills test.

    6) Telehandlers: This lesson covers other types of equipment that youth could be asked to use including telehandlers, and ATV’s and utility equipment, plus auger, silage and elevator safety.  Proper loading and towing of equipment will also be covered.

    In-person trainings are scheduled in June on various dates and locations around Minnesota.  Learn more about the training at:  To learn if this training is scheduled in or near your county, and for registration information, visit:

    For inquiries about hosting this at a different location, contact Nathan Winter at: 320-583-2257.