Training for youth planning to work on farms this summer

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS – SDSU Extension will be hosting several Hazardous Occupation Safety Training in Agriculture (HOSTA) certification courses throughout the state for all youth between the ages of 14 and 16 who plan to work on farms this summer.

“The agricultural industry is unique in the fact that it allows youth under the age of 16 to be a legal farm employee, where as many other industries require 16 as the minimum age,” said Nicholas Uilk, Ag Systems Technology Instructor at South Dakota State University. “Combine that with the fact that farms/ranches are on the top-10 list of most dangerous jobs and it is evident that the farm site can be a very dangerous workplace for youth who are not familiar with existing dangers.”

HOSTA certification is required for all youth who are 14 or 15 and wish to work on a farm other than their own family farm. The HOSTA certificate allows these youth to legally work as a farm employee. Uilk says according to federal law, youth under the age of 14 are not allowed to be employed by a farm that is not their own family farm.

Farm operators who employ youth who do not have the HOSTA training can face up to a $10,000 fine.

Uilk also encourages youth who will be working on their family’s farm to also take the HOSTA course.

“I also strongly encourage all youth 14 and 15 years of age to attend the safety training as education is the number one best way to prevent accidents,” Uilk said.

Youth younger than 14 and interested in taking the course will also be welcome.

What to Expect

Prior to attending the HOSTA certification course, students are expected to study the 48 core task sheets, which can be found at:

During the training a classroom session will be held to review some of the main points of the task sheets. The students will then be given a written exam. Students must obtain a 75 percent or greater in order to pass the exam and receive certification. If the student passes the written exam, they will then take a driving test in which we set up a course which they must drive a tractor and two wheeled trailer through.

HOSTA Training Dates & Locations

· May 28 Brookings: Training begins at 10 a.m. in the Ag Engineering building, room 125, 1400 N. Campus Drive, Brookings, 57006.

· May 29 Aberdeen: Training begins at 10:30 a.m. at the SDSU Extension Regional Center; 13 Second Ave. SE, Aberdeen, 57401.

· May 30 Winner: Training begins at 10 a.m. at the SDSU Extension Regional Center; 325 S. Monroe St., P.O. Box 270, Winner, 57580.

· June 3 Gettysburg: Training begins at 10 a.m. at C&B operations -Potter County Implement; 30965 US Highway 212, Gettysburg, 57442.

To register, contact Nic Uilk at 605-688-5675 or Interested parties may also contact the SDSU Ag Engineering department at 605-688-5141. A minimum of six students must be pre-registered for each location by May 24 at 4 p.m. or the session will be cancelled for that location. Cost is $25 per student.