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Tractors are an essential part of Illinois' agriculture industry. Learn about safe handling, maintenance, and operation, including parts of the tractor, fuels, engine operation, hydraulic and electrical systems, and safety.

Project Levels


In level 1, learn the parts of a tractor, tractor maintenance, and how to avoid machine hazards.


In level 2, learn farm and tractor safety, different fuels, and engine cooling systems.


In level 3, learn how to safely connect PTO and hydraulics, increase your knowledge of farm safety, and learn about different oil systems.


In level 4, learn the mechanics and maintenance of an engine, learn safety with chemicals, and advance your skill in operational systems and equipment.

Resources to help you learn

  • Level A; Starting Up: Getting to Know Your Tractor
  • Level B: Tractor Operation: Gearing Up for Safety
  • Level C: Moving Out: Learning About Your Tractor & Farm Machinery
  • Level D: Learning More: Learning More About Agricultural Tractors and Equipment

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Tractor A (SF 50306)

Exhibit a display or poster that illustrates one of the following topics: tractor safety; care and maintenance; the tractor as a valuable farm machine; or an activity listed in the project manual.

Tractor B (SF 50307)

Exhibit a display or poster that illustrates one of the following topics: cause and prevention of rollovers, diagram how an air cleaner works, diagram & identify an engine cooling system, regulations for battery & oil disposal, or another activity listed in the 4-H project manual.

Tractor C (SF 50308)

Exhibit a display or poster that illustrates one of the following topics: wagon and bin hazards, diagram and identify open and closed hydraulic systems, mower types and safety features conveyor types and safety features, or another activity listed in the 4-H project manual.

Tractor D (SF 50309)

Exhibit a display or poster that illustrates one of the following topics: method of winterizing a tractor, chemical uses and required safety equipment, parts and process of internal combustion engine, procedure for cleaning and flushing tractor radiator, or another activity.

Tractor Innovation Class (SF 50310)

Open to youth enrolled in Tractor A, B, C or D. Demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have gained through the Tractor project. This could be related to, but not limited to, advancements in technology, enhancements to crop production, or a topic of interest to the member related to tractors or farm machinery. The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. Your exhibit should not fit in the other exhibit options for this project. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period.

Tractor Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50312)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Tractor project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Tractor Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.