The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 25, 2013

Ask a Trooper: Farm licenses for teens

By Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol

There is still a restricted farm work license in Minnesota. A 15-year-old may be issued a farm work license but with firm restrictions.

Minnesota State Statue 171.041, regarding  farm licenses, states:  The restricted license shall be issued solely . . . to assist parents or guardians with farm work. A person holding this restricted license may operate a motor vehicle only during daylight hours and only within a radius of 20 miles. . . of the farmhouse; . . .  in no case may [the license holder] . . . operate in a city of the first class [population over 100,000].

Most people in law enforcement have been in contact with teens using the farm work license improperly; essentially, they are driving without any license when they are violating the restrictions of this license. A teen with a farm license may not drive to school, sporting events or meet up friends, just to name a few temptations.   

Parents are strongly urged to consider all the facts and restrictions before allowing their teen to obtain a restricted farm work license and to monitor its use very carefully. These teens have little to no formal drivers training or practical experience on the road. The necessity of having a 15-year-old driver to assist on the family farm is understood, however, it would be wiser to avoid if there are other options.

Remember, the Number One cause of death for teens is motor vehicle crashes.