A total of $250,000 has been put back into the new state budget for the lifesaving Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program, which equips tractors with special safety equipment to avoid tractor overturns.
Funding for this program had been eliminated in the governor's Executive Budget proposal.
Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of death on American farms, claiming the lives of nearly 100 farmers across the country annually. While most tractors built after 1985 have built-in rollover protection, tractors manufactured prior to that date — which many farmers use — do not have the safety feature in place.
The ROPS Rebate Program helps protect farmers by covering about 70 percent of the expense of purchasing and installing ROPS, which typically cost between $800 and $1,200.
In the last 11 years, the program has outfitted more than 1,500 tractors across the state with the rollover-prevention device. However, nearly half of the tractors on New York state farms are still operating without it.