The original aims of the ROPS multi-state expansion were: 1) to implement and evaluate similar campaigns in VT and PA., 2) to assess the cost/benefits of the campaigns and 3) to systematically assess the intervention implementation process to define the elements of a successful campaign. Early in this process the New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture requested inclusion of New Hampshire in this effort and NH has since been an active partner.
The multi-state ROPS project began in the autumn of 2009. The initial step for launching the grant activities involved a grant collaborators meeting in Baltimore, MD. Collaborators from the two intervention states and five states with the highest risk of tractor overturns attended (e.g., VT, PA, TN, KY, IL, OH and WV). Following the initial meeting, collaborators in the intervention states (VT and PA) assembled advisory teams to organize and provide oversight of grant research activities. A survey was conducted in both states to identify the best segment of the population to target for a ROPS intervention. Small crop farmers in PA and small crop and hay farmers in VT were chosen. In both cases the target groups selected had the highest proportion of unprotected tractors.
Subsequently farmers in the targeted groups were surveyed to identify the most prominent motivators and barriers to their retrofitting a tractor with ROPS. Based on this information, the VT and PA teams worked to adjust the current NY strategy to fit the needs of VT and PA farmers. Similar efforts were made in NH to assist NH collaborators with the development of the NH ROPS program. The newly launched programs in Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have retrofitted over 200 tractors thus far. Each state team is actively seeking financial support for rebates within their respective states. Currently, the program in these states provide a 70% rebate of the entire cost of the retrofit with a maximum rebate of $765. Plans to launch a ROPS Rebate Program in Wisconsin are currently underway.