Youth Tractor Training Goes on in Rain and Mud!

The Youth Tractor Safety Training and Certification program at NWREC during Spring Break, March 26-28, went on—despite the weather.  Intense periods of rain, wind, plus sunshine made interesting conditions for the young drivers, ages 14-17.  The North Willamette Research and Extension Center, in conjunction with the OSU’s 4-H program in Clackamas County, sponsor the training and certification program each year.

“We enroll 20 youth per class and offer the program based on demand,” said Mike Bondi, Director at NWREC.  The three-day, 24-hour training—and subsequent certification, if the student passes written and driving tests—provides the youth with the credentials needed to be employed on farms and operate equipment. 

The Spring Break training conditions were less than ideal.  Andrea Leao, from Silverton and the certified instructor for the program, said, “The pouring rain made it really difficult for the kids to operate and stay focused.  At some point, everyone was pretty soaked, but being outside and driving is an essential part of the training.”

And, it was muddy, too.  Youth learn the basic features of tractors and how they work, safe driving and operating procedures, hooking three point hitches and trailers, and backing equipment.

The tractor training class was moved to the Clackamas County Event Center (Fairgrounds) in Canby for the final day of its program, so the driving could be done in a covered arena area and get the youth out of the weather conditions.  “We wanted the students to be able to fairly demonstrate their knowledge and skills and not be hampered by the weather,” said Leao.  “It’s important that they get these skills right.”

Another class for youth drivers will be held later in the spring or early summer.  Contact the Clackamas County Extension office in Oregon City to register.  The phone is 503-655-8631.

A tractor safety operation course for adults is planned also.