University of Georgia Farm Again program instructors will host a workshop to introduce potential farmers to tractors and how to safely operate them. The Tractors 101 event will be held on Thursday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UGA Tifton campus, beginning in the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) building.
UGA Cooperative Extension, within the university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD), part of the university’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, manage the Farm Again program. CAES agricultural engineer Glen Rains and IHDD Associate Director Rebecca Brightwell co-direct Farm Again.
“This workshop is designed for socially disadvantaged and veteran persons interested in starting a farm,” Rains said. “We want to teach them how to safely operate a tractor and show them the potential dangers of operating powerful machinery.”
In the morning, there will be a classroom session where the parts of a tractor will be laid out in detail. Hands-on training stations will be set up in the afternoon.
Attendees will practice driving a tractor at one station, and they will learn how to connect equipment and study the maintenance of the system at another.
“This is a really helpful workshop for those who don’t know anything about tractors,” Rains said. “We will discuss which model to buy and whether or not they need four-wheel drive.”
At the end of the day, potential farmers will navigate a driving course to determine if they can steer and back up a tractor.
“We just want to give them the basics of operation so they can incorporate these practices into their own farming,” Rains said. “Sometimes there’s a stigma around tractors because people think they are difficult to operate. This is a great opportunity to get familiar with the machine. They will find out that it is actually fairly simple to work.”
This is the fourth workshop of a spring series aimed at small, beginning farmers or veterans who want to start their own farms. Due to the hands-on training, space is limited. Teenagers over 16 years old may attend with parental permission.
To register, visit www.farmagain.com/register.
Julie Jernigan is an intern at UGA-Tifton.