As spring time approaches and farm tractors are working in the fields, 19 youth in the Finger Lakes region have completed the Ontario County 4-H Tractor Safety Program. The 8 week course had weekly volunteer speakers talking on topics of equipment safety, maintenance checks, highway safety and emergency response procedures.
Speakers presenting this year at the series included: Casey Kunes of Hemdale Farms, Patrick Spence of the Clifton Springs Volunteer Fire Department. Glenn Osterhout, Farm Safety Specialist for NYCAMH, opened the series with an interactive presentation of farm safety. Jim Ballerstein from the Geneva Experiment Station and Monroe Tractor of Canandaigua representatives, Chris Stewart, Bob Linehan and Chad Freeman also helped with the program. Lakeland Equipment of Hall provided an evening of instruction as well as the equipment and location for the tractor driving experience for the certification with Duane Derrick, Greg Fisher and Greg Santasieri and Frank Fessner assisting. Steve DeRycke of American Equipment of Farmington also donated time and equipment for the participants to practice the certification course. Others who contributed to the support of the program were Ontario County Farm Bureau and Tractor Supply.
Youth who attended these classes, passed the written test and the driving experience to complete the certification program for this year included Lindsey Weykman, Zach Davison, Jaden Presher and Rachael Rouland of Clifton Springs, Mason Jones, Hammond Raes and Will Raes of the Phelps area, Emily Shimp, Andrew Kelsey, Alex Ellis and Elizabeth Maslyn of Farmington, John Fisher of Sodus and Jacob Ellsworth of Newark. Participating from Canandaigua were Dackson Rohring and John Holtz, Derlyn Hoover and John Payne of Geneva, Gracie Nicol of Victor and Peter Roloson of Seneca Falls.
Youth ages 14 and 15 who complete this program are certified to be employed on farms that are not owned by immediate family members. This year the youth are anticipating jobs on dairy and beef farms, horse farms and vegetable farms.
For more information about this and other 4-H agricultural programs in Ontario County, contact Amy Morrisey at Ontario County Cooperative Extension at 585-394-3977.
Featured Photo caption: Mason Jones
Cornell Cooperative Extension is a non-profit educational organization with a mission to extend new knowledge and research-based information in agriculture, family and consumers sciences from Cornell University to county residents. County residents with concerns or questions related to agriculture, horticulture, water quality, 4-H youth development, parenting or family financial management can call 585-394-3977 any time or visit our website at www.cceontario.org.