Tractor Operator Program


The U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act restricts what children can legally do as employees, in and around agricultural equipment and tractors that are more than 20 PTO HP, whether working in the landscape or production agriculture industry. 

Michigan State University Extension offers the Tractor Operator Program (TOP) through the 4-H Youth Development Program. Successful completion of 4-H TOP provides completion certificates to 14 - 19 year old. 14 - 15 year old youth may be eligible to receive a certificate of training from the U.S. Department of Labor required for operation of a 20 PTO HP or greater, garden or agricultural tractor, by a 14 and 15 year old youth employed on property NOT owned, leased or operated by a parent/legal guardian. 

Topics covered include: 

  • Farm/ranch hazards and safety
  • Tractor component basics
  • Pre-operational procedures
  • Operation basics
  • Tractor-powered implements
  • Self-propelled agricultural equipment
  • Operating on public roadways
  • Basic maintenance and repair
  • ATV/Utility vehicle safety 
  • First aid and emergencies


Youth 14 - 19 years of age (currently, youth must be 14 by the day of the driving test to be eligible to receive the federal certificate of completion)


$60.00 per a 4-H Member 

$80.00 per a Non-4-H Member


The 9 - week course is taught on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. - Noon, January 25 through March 28. (Make up dates are held if needed). Schedule includes educational sessions, some driving practice, final written and driving tests, and graduation program. Study and practice time is also required outside of session time to complete the 24 hours of certification training. 





Program Flyer: 



Contact the Berrien County MSU Extension Office at 269-927-5674 or email Kelly Stelter, 4-H Program Coordinator at

A minimum of six participants are required to offer class, maximum of 20 youth. Participants must register and have their fees paid by the first day of the class.