NSTMOP: Program Overview

Ag Safety and Health October 26, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF


(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.


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:

  • Click HERE to order a bound copy of the student manual through Finney Company Inc.
  • Click HERE to be directed to the article "NSTMOP: Student Information," which contains links to the different instruction modules in the Modules and Task Sheets section.

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


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 – djm13@psu.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center - aaron.yoder@unmc.edu


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.