NDSU Extension seeks youth for summer farm safety camps

The 2023 camps, which each can accommodate 16 youth, are being held in the west, east and central part of the state. They build on the regional camps that in 2022 were held in Fargo and Washburn.

Youth will learn about farm safety at North Dakota State University Extension camps this summer.
NDSU photo

North Dakota State University Extension will host farm safety camps for youth ages 13-16 this summer in Williston, Bismarck and Fargo.

The camps will be held at Williston State College May 23-25; NDSU in Fargo May 30-June 1; and Bismarck State College June 26-28.

The camps, which each can accommodate 16 youth, are being held in the west, east and central part of the state. They build on the regional camps that in 2022 were held in Fargo and Washburn. Register online to be a part of one of the camps.

NDSU Extension hopes to reach more youth through the regional camps than individual tractor safety camps that counties have held in the past, said Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension farm and ranch safety coordinator. Sometimes those camps had to be canceled because not enough youth signed up for them.

Angie Johnson, North Dakota State University Extension farm and ranch safety coordinator, worked with NDSU extension agents across North Dakota to design three arm safety camps for youth that will be held during the summer in 2023.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

“By trying it this way, we’re getting kids together from all across the state,” she said. The camps are open to all youth and being a 4-H member is not required.


Meanwhile, there are many more aspects to farm safety than just learning how to drive a tractor, Johnson said. “I worked really hard with our team of agents to to take this to the next level.

“This program is really, really big. It encompasses lots of pieces,” Johnson said.

Besides the safe operation of tractors, all terrain vehicles and skid steer, youth will learn about grain bin hazards, do "Stop the Bleed" training and be taught about the importance of farm stress management, Johnson said. Youth also will have the opportunity to sit in the cab of a semi-tractor trailer. The experience is designed to show youth the challenges semi- tractor trailer drivers face and the need for other drivers to understand those challenges and modify their driving to accommodate them.

NDSU is partnering with private industries, including the North Dakota Motor Carrier Association, agricultural equipment dealers and local health care facilities to provide youth hands-on learning at the camp, she said. Youth who have been involved in farm incidents also will speak at the camps.

The students will learn how to properly hook up and unhook power-take-offs and hydraulic hoses from tractors, apply tourniquets and about grain bin safety and interact with livestock.

Under the Hazardous Occupations Order for Agriculture federal law, youth under age 16 are required to receive certification of training before they can work on farms that are not operated by a parent or guardian. That program is designed for 14- and 15 year-olds, but youth who are 13 can participate in the training at the NDSU Farm Safety camps, and if they pass the test, they will receive a certificate when they turn 14.

Though youth who will work on the family farm are not required to earn a tractor training certificate, Johnson encourages parents to still have their children participate in the farm safety program.

“Safety is priority one,” she said.


It’s critical that parents communicate with their children and discern whether they are emotionally and physically ready to operate farm equipment, she said. Parents and youth employers should make sure that the task the youth are assigned to do is appropriately matched to their skill levels.

“Kids need to feel comfortable saying they don’t feel comfortable with the task,” Johnson said.

Managing farm stress is another important component, Johnson said. The camp is designed to help the campers learn about developing support networks, building and maintaining relationships and handling challenging situations that are out of their control.

The cost of the camps is $275. Registration is available online at . The deadline to register is April 30, 2023.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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