NSTMOP Overview

The National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program (NSTMOP) was developed through a collaborative effort involving Penn State University, Ohio State University, and the agricultural division of the National Safety Council.

The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This program is now managed solely by Penn State.

The NSTMOP was originally developed and designed for 14- and 15-year-olds seeking employment in production agriculture. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Hazardous Occupations Order in Agriculture (AgHOs) regulation prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from operating farm tractors and attached powered equipment unless the youths have successfully completed an approved safe tractor and machinery operation training program. For more information about these regulations, visit the website of the U.S. Department of Labor.

What's Included for Certification

Training is led by local county cooperative extension or high school agricultural educators. Subjects covered include general agricultural safety, tractor and equipment operation, and highway transportation. Students are certified after successfully passing a fifty-question written knowledge test and successfully passing both a operating skills test and a pre-op/driving test.


The NSTMOP consists of 24 hours of intensive instruction, divided into six modules, that includes task sheets and skills and safe-driving instruction. The task sheets serve as the basis of the program. The curriculum can be obtained through the following two avenues:

The student manual includes the following elements:

  • An introduction to the NSTMOP
  • A program outline for the six modules
  • A driving test layout and evaluation form
  • A list of core competencies that each student should master
  • Instructional task sheets

Advantages for Instructors

A new generation of training materials in a task sheet format have been developed by Penn State to assist in delivering effective training to students. A new power point lesson plan was added in 2015 and is available to Certified Instructors.

This 24-hour training can be conducted in a traditional classroom setting, through independent study or as a combination of the two.

Instructors will use NSTMOP task sheets for the 24 hours of intensive classroom instruction. After students complete the classroom training and pass the 50-question written knowledge test with a minimum score of 70%, they are permitted to take the operating skills and pre-op/driving tests. After successfully completing both the classroom and driving components, students receive a formal certificate that allows them to work for hire in agriculture as 14- and 15-year-olds.

The NSTMOP is administered nationally through the Cooperative Extension Service and agricultural education programs. To receive a listing of instructors from your state, send a request to

Advantages for Employers and Employees

Agriculture is a hazardous occupation—but the risks can be minimized. NSTMOP training better prepares youth for dealing with the hazards in agriculture.

For more information about becoming a NSTMOP instructor please contact:

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NSTMOP Overview

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