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The annual event will undergo some modifications to better meet Covid-19 protocols for the classes.

It was the summer of 2019 when The North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora held it last tractor training and certification program for young people ages 14-17. This important safety training program has been a yearly event each Spring Break for the past 10 years.

The pandemic derailed plans in 2020 for the training last spring, as well as its usual classes in June when school is out and youth are beginning their summers.

"I'm really proud of the role NWREC plays in getting young people ready to work on area farms through our youth tractor safety and certification program," NWREC Director Mike Bondi said. "During the past 10 years, the NWREC farm staff has certified more than 400 youth through this national safety training program."

COURTESY PHOTO: NWREC - The North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora will again have tractor classes.

As the area merges from the pandemic, training is now being planned for this year. But, Covid-19 restrictions will require changes to the program to ensure health safety.

Here's what is being planned:

• Training dates will be three one day sessions at NWREC on June 21, 22, and 23.

• All classroom instruction will be done by students, in advance, and online.

• Instead of the normal three-day and 24-hour education and training experience at NWREC, attendees will come in for one day only to include intensive driving and working with the farm equipment — followed that afternoon with the required field driving test and the written exam. Students need passing grades on both tests for their national certification credentials.

• In-person class sizes at NWREC will be limited to 10 students (rather than the normal 20-30). Three learning stations will be set up to maximize the training experience — plus limiting physical interaction and ensuring proper sanitation of equipment can be managed.

• Registration is required, in advance. The cost for the program remains at $95. Scholarships are available. Register at: https://beav.es/JRB.

According to Derek Wells, tractor training coordinator for NWREC, "We are excited to get back to tractor training. We know this is a very important service we provide for youth in the area, their families, and local farms and agribusinesses who employee our students. Yes, this year will be different, but I am confident we can provide an excellent training and do it safely."


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