The Daily Dunklin Democrat (Mo.) reports that Three Rivers College is ready to start their Tractor Operation and Guidance classes in New Madrid, Mo., on Saturdays, Nov. 7 - 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"According to TRC Project Director Michael Barrett, the first course offered will be at no charge; however, after that initial class, the fee will be $150 per course. 'We normally charge a fee because these are Continuing Education classes,' said Barrett. 'But, since this is the first class, we are offering it at no charge.'

"He said that the idea behind the course, is to teach students how to do what they should do while working on a farm. 'For example, the first thing you should do before getting on a rig is to safely inspect it,' said Barrett. 'Make sure that it can safely hit the field without any damage to the tractor or to the operator.' He said that the student will learn how to safely inspect the tractor, how to check all fluids, how to check all components on it that are important and need constant attention; then they will learn all of the components in the cab. 'They will learn all of the components on the guidance system.'

"The tractor is a CASE IH Magnum 240 with the advanced farm system in it that includes the GIS (geographic information system) and GPS (global positioning system), heat and air. The tractor is also equipped with the CVT (continuously variable transmission) transmission, and according to Barrett, the tractor could practically drive itself. 'To change gears, it's like a joy stick, you just push the buttons to change the gears,' said Barrett. 'It is a super nice rig.'

"Barrett added that students will learn all of the components, how to operate the tractor, how to hook up equipment, and how to set up the guidance in it. They will also learn how to go down the row without wasting fuel by overlapping too much, as well as learn how to map out a field."

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For more information on the Tractor Operation and Guidance classes or any other Continuing Education classes offered by TRC visit To register for this course, contact Amber Spears at 573-840-9619 or email her at