VT ROPS Program Prevents Farm Deaths One Tractor at a Time

When 7 out of 10 farms are out of business a year after a tractor rollover, it makes sense to protect yourself, your family and your business. Rollover protective structures (ROPS) are 99% effective in preventing rollover deaths and serious injuriesFarmer & Children promoting ROPS for tractors.  With that information in hand, more than 255 Vermont farmers have signed up for the Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars program, taking the first step to eliminate the leading cause of death on the farm–the tractor rollover. University of Vermont (UVM) Extension hopes to increase that number significantly as the program enters its second year.

Modeled after a successful rollover protection structures (ROPS) program in New York, the UVM Extension program was launched in September 2010, the second program of its kind in the country. It offers a 70 percent rebate (up to $765) to farmers who want to retrofit an old tractor with a rollover protection kit, which includes a roll bar and seatbelt.  If this great deal isn’t enough to spark your interest in making your tractor safe, watch some of these videos demonstrating tractor rollovers and their consequences to the mannequin involved.  

Farmers may call a special ROPS hotline to register for the rebate program or to receive information on roll bar kits available for their model, including the cost and where to purchase. The toll-free hotline number is (877) 767-7748.

“According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, a farmer is 800 percent more likely to die while working on the farm than individuals in other jobs,” says Matt Myers, program coordinator. “The leading cause is tractor overturns.”

“The Northeast has the highest rate of tractor rollovers in the country,” he adds.  Two fatal rollovers occurred in Castleton and Guilford Vermont this past November.  A roll bar would likely have prevented both deaths. a

George Parizo, who farms in Springfield, agrees. “I survived two tractor rollovers. I wouldn’t survive a third. I am very pleased with my new roll bar, thanks to UVM Extension.”

The program is administered by the Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupational Health, the same organization that’s behind New York’s ROPS program, which has had a ten-fold increase in tractor roll bar installations since its inception in 2007. The center identified cost and difficulty ordering the appropriate equipment as the two main barriers for farmers to get rollover protection on tractors, something the Vermont program hopes to alleviate.

UVM Extension’s Vermont Rebates for Roll Bars program works closely with the Vermont

Woman farmer on tractor retrofitted with ROPs

Farmer Selina Rooney with her new ROPs and program coordinator Matt Meyers.

Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; the Vermont State Farm Bureau and tractor dealers in the state. It is funded by private and public donations. Leading sponsors include the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation ($140,000) and Cooperative Insurance Companies($45,000).

To learn more, visit http://ropsr4u.com/vt/, contact Matt Myers at (802) 888-4972, ext. 404, or (866) 260-5603 (Vermont calls only) or by e-mail at matthew.myers@uvm.edu.

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About UVM New Farmer Project

The UVM Extension New Farmer Project draws together information and resources within Extension and the broader Vermont Agriculture community to assist new farmers in creating successful ag businesses.
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