Make your Tractor Safer: Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program

From UVM – Extension’s New Farmer Project blog: 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 injuries.  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.

Information from the ROPS Rebate Program website:

The ROPS Rebate Program will rebate 70% of the cost of purchasing and installing the ROPS (Rollover Protective Structure) up to $765 maximum rebate. This includes the cost of the ROPS (rollbar, ROPS with Awning or ROPS cab), shipping, and installation charges.

Apply on-line or call the ROPS Rebate Hotline (1-877-ROPS-R4U or 1-877-767-7748) for registration and pre-approval. Click here to apply. You must be a resident of the state in which you are applying for a rebate. There are no other qualifying conditions. Pre-approval is required only to ensure that funding is available for the rebates. Rebates are available on a first come first served basis.

ROPS Rebate Program staff will research the type of equipment needed, provide estimated costs as well as sources for purchasing ROPS and send this information to you. Participants may order the ROPS from whichever source they choose as long as the ROPS are SAE Certified.

When ready to make your purchase, you must re-contact the ROPS hotline staff via email or by phone (1-877-767-7748) We cannot guarantee your rebate until you confirm with us where you ordered your ROPS and what the estimated cost is. It is at this point that your rebate money will be reserved and an approval letter will be issued to you confirming your participation in the program.

We recommend that you have your rollbar professionally installed but you have the option of self-installing. In this case, a “before” and “after” photo is required as your proof of installation.

Only one tractor per farm can be rebated during a program year.

The University of Vermont Cooperative Extension is responsible for issuing the checks for the Vermont Rebates for Rollbars Program. They require a social security number or Farm (Employer) ID number in order to do so. This information is not taken over the phone or when applying on-line. This information is only required if you decide to follow through with purchasing and installing your rollbar. Upon completion of the installation, a W-9 Form (standard form – name, address, social security number and signature) would need to be submitted along with your receipts and/or photos. 1099 Forms will only be issued to those individuals receiving a rebate of $600 or more.

Upon submission of receipts for all expenses and proof of installation a rebate check will be mailed to you within 30 days.

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