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Keeping young farmers safe around equipment

Keeping young farmers safe around equipment

Fox Valley Technical College is hosting training courses from June to August

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A Wisconsin school is offering farm safety courses for young farmers between 12 and 16 years old.

Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) will hold five four-day equipment operation courses from June to August.

The classes will review such topics as equipment connections, spreading fertilizer and specialized machinery for livestock.

All attendees will receive the same instructions regardless of if they come from a farming family or not, said Jeremy Hanson, a farm business instructor from FVTC. He will teach one of the safety courses in June.

“We start right from the beginning, so that includes turning the tractor on and off, as well as fastening and unbuckling seatbelts,” he told Farms.com. “Not everyone who attends the course is from a farm, so we need to make sure everybody is getting the same level of training.”

Hanson and the other instructors will deliver the material in a classroom environment in addition to using equipment outdoors.

“We know that we’re dealing with teenagers and we might lose their attention if we keep them in a classroom all day,” he said. “We’ll try to spend about half of each day outside letting the students interact with the equipment and be more confident around it.”

In addition to the equipment training, the young attendees will receive emergency response training.

A sheriff or other safety professional will be on hand to teach the students about rules of the road and what to do in the case of an emergency, Hanson said.

The course wraps up with a written test and a practical test on an outdoor obstacle course.

Students must past both tests to complete the course. Doing so could pay dividends for them, Hanson said.

“There aren’t as many farms as there used to be so, by completing the safety course, a neighboring farmer could legally hire one of the students and have confidence they’re going to be safe while operating equipment. It’s a great labor force for farmers and represents opportunities for students who aren’t in school during the summer.”

Attendees who are at least 14 years old and complete the course will also receive a federal certificate allowing them to legally work in other states, Hanson said.


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