Poultney--A tractor safety and youth certification course will be held this April in Poultney.

Classes will be held on April 8 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Green Mountain College's (GMC) Cerridwen Farm and are open to all students age 14 and older, including those from neighboring states. Written and driving tests for certification will be administered on April 28.

Registrations will be accepted until March 30 or until the class fills at www.regonline.com/tractorsafetyGMC. The $25 fee covers all three days including certification under the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program. Students may opt to participate in only one session for the same fee. Financial assistance is available.

Although certification is only required for 14- and 15-year-olds who are working off the family farm for pay, anyone working with tractors and machinery will benefit from this training, offered through University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H in partnership with GMC, with support from Cooperative Insurance.

The course will include classroom lectures, safety demonstrations and hands-on tractor driving practice. Participants will learn about farm equipment including pre-operation checks, instruments and controls, understanding the power take-off (PTO), and basic maintenance, along with reducing and managing risks.

Students without previous tractor experience should plan to attend the April 8 class for an introduction to basic safety and operation. The class on April 15 will focus more on hitching and unhitching equipment although all students will practice driving the tractor.

Certificate students are required to attend both classes and will be scheduled individually for an hour of testing on April 28. To achieve certification, youths must independently complete and document 12 additional hours of practice and study under adult supervision. Only upon submittal of practice logs documenting a total of 24 hours of study (including class time) may they take the written exam and driving test.

Anyone requiring financial assistance or a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact Liz Kenton, UVM Extension Youth Agriculture Project coordinator, at (802) 257-7967, ext. 308, or toll-free at (800) 278-5480 (within Vermont) by March 16.


Elizabeth B. Kenton