Agricultural Safety Education Initiative

Agricultural vehicles and machinery account for 23% of fatal injuries to youth working on U.S. farms. Organizations such as FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) offer a significant opportunity to provide safety training to youth working in agriculture; an estimated 600,000 students nationwide are enrolled in its school-based agriculture programs.

Through the Agricultural Safety Education Initiative, Michael Pate and collaborators conducted annual ten-hour agricultural safety training with high school agricultural teachers in Montana, South Dakota and Utah on agricultural machine safety. Over the course of the project period, a total of 11 in-person training workshops were offered to teachers.  Four online Zoom webinar workshops were held with teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  A total of 176 unique teachers participated in at least one in-person training over the course of five years. A total of 28 teachers attended four or more workshop offerings.

After attending training, teachers convey the information to their students via a classroom curriculum and guide the appropriate selection of supervised agricultural experiences (SAE). Students were encouraged to apply this learning and document the implementation of safety improvement activities during their SAE. Of the 26 students who completed this safety risk assessment, eight received SAE Safety Awards, awarded during state FFA conferences for Montana, South Dakota, and Utah. These awards were given for students who showed exceptional safety analysis and reflection in their assessment.

In 2019, access to the classroom curriculum resources became available to teachers nationwide through a partnership with the education management system, Agricultural Experience Tracker (AET). The safety materials were added to the site’s repository of studentsteachers, and classroom resources, including an online pre-formatted safety knowledge test. Since May 2019, 32,108 safety knowledge tests have been attempted and 2,457 received a passing score of 80% or higher. There were 4,632 safety test entries that acknowledged having received formal safety training. There have been 1,451 unique students (ages 14-18) participating in safety knowledge assessment from 40 states across the U.S.

Funded By: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Funding Date: 2016-2021



Agricultural Safety Education: Formative Assessment of a Curriculum Integration Strategy
Michael L. Pate, Rebecca G. Lawver, Scott W. Smalley, Dustin K. Perry, Lorann Stallones, Alyx Schultz. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health 2019. 25(2): 63-76

Effectiveness of Utilizing an Evidence Based Safety Curriculum to Increase Student Knowledge
Dustin K. Perry, Scott W. Smalley, Michael L. Pate. Journal of Agricultural Education 2020. 61(3): 294-307

Distinguished Research Paper Award
Facilitating experiential education through a multi-state initiative: an examination of an agricultural safety training experience. Toft, J. T., Perry, D. K., Shultz, A., & Pate, M. L. (2019). Presented at the National Agricultural Mechanics Blue Ribbon Research Symposium. Indianapolis, IN.

A full list of project publications and presentations is also available.

Classroom Curriculum Materials

Four women stand next to a small plywood ramp and remote-control truck

To date, the Agricultural Safety Education Initiative has hosted summer teacher training on three topics:

-Tractor Stability
-ATV/UTV Stability
-Use of Tractors with Implements

The lesson plans and classroom materials for each topic are available to download and use for free from the Agricultural Experience Tracker.

Project Investigators

Michael Pate, PhD, MS

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor
Applied Science, Technology and Education
Utah State University

Rebecca Lawver, PhD, MS


Associate Professor
Applied Science, Technology and Education
Utah State University

Dustin Perry
Dustin Perry, PhD


Assistant Professor
Agricultural and Technology Education
Montana State University

Scott Smalley, MS, PhD


Associate Professor
Agricultural Education and Studies
Iowa State University