Utica, NY (WIBX) - A tractor protection rebate program is being reintroduced by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences in an effort to save farmers'  lives across the country. The program was implemented by New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health based in Cooperstown some time ago, but another kick-off earlier this year is to continue to bring attention to what industry leaders are calling a "crisis" in the agricultural industry; tractor rollover accidents.

Aaron Yoder,  instructor in agricultural and biological engineering and extension safety specialist said, "Agriculture continues to be recognized as the most dangerous industry in the United States. One major reason for this is tractor rollovers." Yoder said the number of deaths due to tractor rollovers can be greatly diminished through the use of the Rollover Protective Structure also known as ROPS. He said, the structure, which resembles a roll bar, is designed to limit a roll by 90 degrees, so that if a tractor rolls, it would fall onto its side or end, possibly saving a farmers limbs and or life. He said, "The protective equipment is beneficial for all farmers, not just farmers who live in areas with a lot of hills."

About the ROPS rebate program he said, "It's a program where farmers are interested in retrofitting their older tractors with rollover protection, which includes a roll bar and a seat belt. We provide a 70% rebate for them to do that because we know one of the biggest barriers to doing that is the cost of it." He said the program can mean a cost of about $150 for farmers, depending on the make and model they choose.

According to NYCAMH, the average cost of a rollover protective structure is $850 however, prices vary and can go up to $2750. The 70% rebate program will cover the cost and installation of the roll bar. To apply call 1-877-ROPS-R4U or 1-877-767-7748.  The program, according to NYCAMH, is funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Yoder said other industry partners have also contributed to funding the rebate program and said additional support is needed to allow farmers throughout the country to benefit from the program. "We're still looking for sponsors to help promote the rebate," Yoder said. He added that organizations or companies looking to help fund the program can also contact the number provided above to learn more. New York customers can visit http://ropsr4u.com/ny/faq/#Q1 to see a list of frequently asked questions.