Oxford County Extension offering tractor safety course

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PARIS — Preregistration is open for the spring 2018 tractor safety course offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Oxford County. The course will be held at an Oxford County farm.

The five-week course is part of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program, developed for youth seeking employment in production agriculture. The course is required for 14- and 15-year-olds who plan to operate farm equipment for hire on farms other than their own.

Additionally, because farm work includes many factors that increase the risk of injury, it is important for all youth and adults to be proactive and well versed in how to operate farm machinery and work safely on the farm. 

Across the U.S., 33 children are injured daily in agriculture-related incidents; every three days, those incidents take a child’s life, according to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.

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For working youth, tractors are the leading source of fatalities, followed by ATVs, according to the National Youth Farm and Ranch Symposium. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health also notes that vehicles are the leading source of injury for youth living and working on the farm.

Last spring, Dr. Rick Kersbergen of UMaine Extension Waldo County, Jason Lilley of UMaine Extension Cumberland County and Cathryn Kloetzli of UMaine Extension Oxford County, taught the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program curriculum in Oxford County.

Phil Trundy, Roundabout Farm in Buckfield, and Dan Cousins, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, also assisted the youth during class by providing one-on-one guidance on the tractors and sharing their insights on how to be safe on the farm.

The cost of the course is $15 for youth and $25 for adults. The class is open to participants of any age. 

FMI, preregister: 207-743-6329, 1-800-287-1482, extension.oxford@maine.edu, extension.psu.edu/business/ag-safety/youth-safety/nstmop.

Students attend the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 2017 Farm and Tractor Safety Course class. Students used the skills learned in work on their family farms, in their summer jobs or their side businesses.
Students in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 2017 Farm and Tractor Safety Course learn the parts of the tractor and how each is related to safe operation.
Students in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 2017 Farm and Tractor Safety Course had to complete a written exam, and a skills and driving test, which required them to connect a hitch, back up with a trailer and talk on safety measures.  

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