Frentz’s tractor safety bill passes out of committee
ST. PAUL, Minn – A bill authored by Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-N. Mankato) and Rep. Clark Johnson (DFL-N. Mankato) that would make rollover protection kits more affordable for school farming programs passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Policy Committee. Rollover protection kits include a roll bar and a safety belt, which are 99 percent effective in preventing death or serious injury in rollover accidents.
In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature established the Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) Rebate Program at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to make tractor safety equipment affordable for farmers and schools. The rebate program reimburses at least 70 percent of the cost of a rollover protection kit. While the program has improved affordability and access for countless farmers across the state, schools have struggled to fund the remaining 30 percent of the cost. Tim Uhlenkamp, agriculture teacher at Sibley East Schools, and his students testified on behalf of the bill.
Frentz said, “Protecting the health and safety of youth who participate in school agriculture programs is something everyone can agree on. Youth programs like these offer great opportunities for learning, character development, and community service. They also create gateways for future careers in the agricultural field where attracting and retaining young workers is critical.”