Question: Is there still such a thing as a farm license? I remember some of my friends having one but that was a long time ago and they basically used it to drive all the time.
Answer: Yes, there is still a restricted farm work license in Minnesota. The statute is M.S.S. 171.041. Young persons are eligible for this at age 15 in Minnesota, although other states might have different age restrictions. The license can be used solely to assist parents or guardians with farm work only during daylight hours and within 20 miles of the farmhouse. The restricted farm work license may not be used to drive to or from school, or in a city with a population of more than 100,000 people.
As an interesting note, during my career virtually every single one of the young persons I have stopped that were using the restricted farm work license was using it unlawfully. I have heard the same thing from many other officers over the years. I even attended a fatal crash caused by a 15-year-old person who was driving (unlawfully) with only the restricted farm work license.
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 if their teen has one. Most of these teens have had virtually no formal driver training and this can make for a very dangerous situation on our roadways. Teens are much safer when the parents are involved in the driver instruction. This also allows the teen to become a much better driver. Remember, the number one cause of death for teens is motor vehicle crashes.
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, MN State Patrol, P.O. Box 644, Brainerd, MN, 56401, or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with Ask a Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.