With farm incomes predicted to drop this year, agritourism activities have emerged as a potential revenue stream for farm owners. Farm tours, children’s day camps, bed and breakfasts, and petting zoos are just a few of the activities creating extra income for farmers.

State lawmakers have taken note and are addressing some of the legal issues inherent in such activities. The Montana Legislature recently passed HB 342, adding agritourism to the list of Montana recreational activities “in which participants assume the liability for the inherent risk of those activities.” Similar legislation was passed in May in Washington, providing increased liability protection for farm-based agritourism businesses. Under SB 5808, “an agritourism professional is not liable for unintentional injury, loss, damage, or death resulting exclusively from the inherent risks of an agritourism activity.”

Issues of liability and more will be discussed next Wednesday, June 21, when the Agriculture and Food Law Consortium presents a free webinar, “Agritourism, Zoonotic Diseases and Legal Liability.”

This webinar will examine agritourism and zoonotic diseases from both the scientific and legal perspectives. Epidemiologist Carrie Klumb will explain how zoonotic diseases transfer from animals to humans in an agritourism setting and the role of management practices in reducing disease transmission. Attorney Peggy Hall will discuss legal liability for zoonotics and how different state laws address agritourism and zoonotic diseases. The speakers will conclude with thoughts on how science and the law can optimally protect both agritourism visitors and agritourism operators from the dangers of zoonotic diseases. Congressional staffers, attorneys, students, and ag professionals seeking additional understanding of emerging issues in agritourism will want to attend.

Details on next week’s webinar, including sign-in information, are available here.

A summary of recent agritourism legislation by state is available here.