NSTMOP: Program Overview



(Source: Pennsylvania State University – Ag Safety & Health Program)

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, click HERE to visit the website of the U.S. Department of Labor.


In its third edition, this student manual provides in-depth information on what youth can expect when working on a farm, safety basics, agricultural hazards, how to operate a tractor, and how to handle materials, among other important topics. This latest edition features updated regulations, vibrant and detailed illustrations and photos, and an improved user-friendly layout, and includes:

  • 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

While required for NSTMOP training courses, this manual is available to any adult or young person who wants to learn more about agricultural safety. To order the manual, visit Penn State Extension at https://extension.psu.edu/national-safe-tractor-and-machinery-operation-program-manual



Students must score a minimum of 70% on the written knowledge test and must successfully pass the skills and driving tests administered by the instructor.


Instructors use NSTMOP task sheets for the 24 hours of intensive classroom instruction. After students complete the classroom training and pass the 50-question knowledge test with a minimum score of 70%, they are permitted to take the skills and 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. Click HERE for more information about the NSTMOP and what is expected of students to complete the program and earn a formal certificate.


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 nstmop@psu.edu. Click HERE for more information about becoming a NSTMOP instructor.

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – (has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu