Program Requirements

Who needs this certification program?

The program is open to any youth:

  • who is 12-15 years of age*  and  who will be operating tractors or self-propelled implements of husbandry on public roads under direction of their parent or guardian for work-related to their family farm operation or
  • ages 14-15 who will be employed or working without pay on a farm other than their family farm and completes the requirements for a federal certificate of training.

*Youth must be 12 years of age to enroll in the program.

The Wisconsin Safe Operation of Tractor and Machinery Certification Program meets the requirements of Part 1500 of Title 29 of the 1970 Code of Federal Regulations,  DWD 270.13 (6) and s. 346.925 Wis. Stats.

In order for a youth to successfully complete the program and receive the Wisconsin Safe Operation of Tractor and Machinery Certificate of Training, he or she must:

  • attend 24-hours of instructional training;
  • pass a written exam with a score of 70% or greater; and
  • pass a driving exam, which demonstrates tractor driving ability in a 2-wheel course with a trailered implement. (Note: You will need to be able to sit in the seat, with the seatbelt properly fastened, and reach all controls on the tractor before you can participate in the driving portion of the program.)

Where do I find a program?

Programs are offered locally either by your local county University of Wisconsin Extension office or your local high school agricultural sciences instructor(s). Additionally, some programs are offered at area technical college. The program is typically offered once a year and may not be available in all counties. A listing of 2019 programs is updated as information is provided by program coordinators. You may attend a program in a different county or community. Wisconsin does not offer an on-line program.

There’s a class time that I can’t make, will I be able to take the training?

It is up to the discretion of the local program certifying authority and instructors to determine their program policy on making up missed instructional hours. However, no more than 8 instructional hours can be completed through make-up activities. 

What jobs will I be able to do with these certificates?

Tractor and machinery certification programs provide training to allow exemptions to youth under the age of 16, who successfully complete the program, to engage in these agricultural work activities on a farm:

  1. Tractor Operation – Operating a tractor over 20 PTO horsepower. This includes connecting or disconnecting equipment or any equipment parts to or from a tractor.
  2. Equipment Operation – Operating or assisting to equipment listed below. This includes starting, stopping, adjusting, feeding, or any activity involving physical contact associated with the operation of equipment listed. This equipment includes hay mower, hay baler, forage harvester, forage blower, unloading mechanism of a non-gravity type self-unloading wagon or trailer, grain combine, corn picker, auger conveyor, feed grinder, crop dryer, cotton picker, post-hole driver, a non-walking rotary tiller or mobile pea viner.

Can I operate a skid-steer loader for an employer with these certificates?

Skid-steer loaders require the youth operator to be at least 16 years of age to operate for someone other than his or her own parent or guardian.

Would these certificates allow me to operate a tractor or other machinery for non-farm purposes like working at a nursery or for a landscaping company? 

The certificate of training that you receive for successfully completing this program only apply to agricultural work on a farm. To operate a tractor or other machine for non-farm agricultural work, you need to be at least 16 years of age or older. It’s important to check the labor laws for the job you’re looking to be hired for.

With this certificate, can I operate a farm truck or farm-truck tractor with semi-trailer?

Wisconsin law requires at least a Class D license for a farm truck. Farm-truck tractors with semi-trailers Agricultural Commercial Motor Vehicle (Ag CMV) or Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) require an operator to meet the CDL requirements.



More in this Section

  • Federal Child Labor Regulations