Youth Exemptions for Work in Agriculture

The Hazardous Occupations Order in Agriculture (HOOA) established a procedure whereby youth 14 and 15 years of age could be exempted from certain portions of the Department of Labor (DOL) Fair Labor Standards Act(FLSA). The exemption has to do with the operation of agricultural tractors and specific types of farm machinery.  The exemption requires a youth to successfully complete a training program. In Wisconsin, the tractor and machinery exemptions are offered in one course called “Wisconsin Safe Operation of Tractor and Machinery Certification” or commonly referred to as “Tractor Safety.”

The exemptions mean that upon successfully completing the training program, 14-15-year-old youth can be employed to:

  • operate a tractor of over 20 PTO horsepower, or connect or disconnect an implement or any of its parts to  or from a tractor.
  • operate or assist to operated (including starting, stopping, adjusting, feeding, or any other activity involving physical contact associated with the operation) any of the following machines.
    • corn picker, cotton picker, grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, or mobile pea viner;
    • feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, or the unloading mechanism of a non-gravity type self-unloading wagon or trailer;
    • power post-hole digger, power post driver, or non-walking rotary tiller.

It is important to note that the law also defines agriculture as: “farming in all its branches including: preparation for market, delivery to market, delivery to storage, or to carriers for transportation to market.” This allows trained youth to haul produce and other products to markets and between farms.

To find a class in your area, please contact your local Extension office or high school agricultural instructor.

Sharing is Caring - Click Below to Share
University of Wisconsin-Madison