NEWBERRY — Students at the Newberry County Career Center in the Agricultural Mechanics class have received a grant to outfit older tractors with modern safety equipment. The grant, administered by the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention at the University of Kentucky, enabled the Ag. Mechanics class to receive materials, including welding rods, steel, new seats and seat belts, and appropriate fasteners to retrofit two older tractors with rollover protection structures.
Known as “CROPS,” the project takes its name from the phrase Cost-effective Roll-Over Protection Structures. The aim of the project is to show that many older, still functioning tractors which remain in use can be made significantly safer with little outlay of equipment or tools. CROPS, combined with safety belts, are 98% effective in preventing tractor operator deaths.
Since the creation of the CROPS Project in 2013, 125 tractors have been fitted with CROPS, 49 high school programs have been involved in the CROPS project in eleven different states, and over 700 lives have been protected through the implementation of the CROPS curriculum.
Two donor tractors were sourced for the project and have been on loan to NCCC until the CROPS were installed on them. Students were taught a lesson unit on safety and also instructed in cutting the steel bars which the grant provided, as well as assembling the bars and attaching them to the tractors. New seats, incorporating a universal bolt pattern and seat belts, were placed on each tractor. The CROPS constructed by NCCC students will stay with the local farmer in efforts to reduce the number of tractor-related injuries and fatalities in South Carolina.