A recent article about a proposal in Colorado caught my eye. Lawmakers there are proposing that farm youths be allowed to obtain a driver’s license at age 14 1/2. The goal is to allow younger people to help out with the driving to and from farm properties. Let’s face it. We all know that farm kids are driving early, and this program helps to legalize a skill that many of these youths already possess.
We have something similar here in Minnesota for teens ages 15 and up. The Farm Work Driver’s License allows drivers under age 21 to apply for a special permit to drive for farm purposes. The benefit to the farm work license is that children can obtain the permit before passing the road skills test. Farm teens must pass a written test, take behind-the-wheel training, and show proof that the family is engaged in farming (land deed or rental contract). There are specific rules about where and when farm kids can drive, but the end result –another licensed driver– is pretty handy for farm families during busy times on the farm.
My sisters and I got our farm permits when we turned 15. And you can bet that my family needed our help transferring vehicles between fields, giving rides, and delivering meals and supplies.