The recent Ontario County 4-H Tractor Safety program ended when 17 youth completed the driving portion of the course at Monroe Tractor in Canandaigua.
The eight-week program had weekly volunteer speakers talking on topics of equipment safety, maintenance checks, safe and proper handling of animals on the farm as well as highway safety and emergency response procedures.
Jim Carrabba, farm safety specialist for New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, did the opening presentation of farm safety during the series.
Speakers this year included Jim Ballerstein, of New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva; Matt Cooper, Steve Knopf and Bob Lehman, of Monroe Tractor; Steve DeRyke and staff of American Equipment in Farmington; Chris Drake, of Bristol Fire Department; Casey Kunes, of Hemdale Farms in Seneca Castle; Gary Love, of NYS Engine Association; Undersheriff Dave Tillman, of Ontario County Sheriff’s Office; veterinarian Katrina Tyrrell; and John Zabliski, of Rochester Gas & Electric.
Presenters used personal stories to keep the focus on safety around the farm and on the highway. Tractor Supply of Canandaigua, Runnings of Canandaigua, NYS Farm Bureau and the Ontario County agricultural community donated prizes to the program.
Youth who attended the eight weeks of classes received certification by passing a written and driving test. Students this year included Holly Fellows and Eli Rhoda, of Bloomfield; Ryan Pare’, of Canandaigua; Preston Cooper, of Clifton Springs; Dakota Ingalls, of Farmington; Benjamin Meeks, of Geneva; Connor Moore, of Lyons; Jackson Brahm, of Naples; Martin Lovell and Jackson Vermeulen, of Newark; Chris Martin, of Palmyra; Matthew Raes, of Phelps; Joshua Allen Lynd, of Shortsville; Jacob Harford, of Stanley; and Bridget Bartelse, Peter Bartelse and Mercie Nicol, of Victor.
Youth ages 14-15 who complete this program are certified to be employed on farms that are not owned by immediate family members. This year, youth are anticipating jobs on dairy, beef, horse, maple sugar and vegetable farms.
Call 585-394-3977 for information about this and other 4-H agriculture youth programs in Ontario County.