Tayler Workman, NALC Research Fellow
Rusty Rumley, Senior Staff Attorney


On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States. Its path will take it from the western side of Texas all the way to the northern most points of Maine – touching much of America’s agricultural heartland along the way. It is predicted that millions of people from all over the world will travel to the areas within the path of totality.

As people flood these areas, many small-town businesses and farms are looking for ways to prepare for the influx of people. From opening up land to campers looking for a place to stay before and after the eclipse, to planning larger events and activities, there is a lot of potential for tourist traffic and income.

Agritourism is a form of commercial enterprise that links agriculture, nature or historic sites with tourism to attract visitors to a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business. In many states, legislatures created additional legal protection to incentivize landowners to open up their property to the public. To learn more about agritourism and legal protections click here. The total solar eclipse provides a unique opportunity for folks trying to get into this industry; however, it is important to carefully consider potential legal ramifications and address them proactively.

Planning and Managing Risk

It is important to note that the elimination of all risks with any activity is impossible. However, by taking a few precautions you can reduce your risk exposure while still receiving the benefits of additional tourists at your property. Proper planning, agritourism statutes and insurance are several important tools to help reduce risks associated with people coming onto your property.

Advance Planning

A critical first step is to consider the potential risks associated with having paying guests on your property.  Does your property have any features that could create additional risks such as cliffs, poisonous snakes, etc.? Evaluating your property for risks and then addressing those concerns is one of the most important steps in preventing or minimizing legal risk. Be sure to give ample time for adequate site preparation, including walkthroughs, of the property that will be accessible by visitors. If this is your first time engaging in agritourism on your property, consider speaking with or hiring someone that is more experienced to give you advice or walkthrough your property with you. Having an extra set of eyes can be invaluable to risk reduction.

Another aspect of planning is logistics and zoning.  Do you have restrooms available for the public? What is your plan for parking?  Or trash collection and disposal?  Further, is your land located within municipal limits or does your county require permits for large gathering? It is critical to make these inquiries well ahead of the planned event and work closely with local officials on any necessary permitting.

Agritourism Statutes

After planning, familiarize yourself with any agritourism statute available in your state (to read state agritourism statutes click here). The statutes vary, so following your state’s statutory requirements is important.

Common agritourism statutes require several actions by the operator before the statute can be used for liability protection. For example, in order to take advantage of the protections provided by these statutes, providers are also often required to post warning signs with specific language in various locations around the operation.

The protections often apply to working agricultural operations where members of the public engage in an agritourism activity. Agritourism activity is typically defined very broadly and often includes farming activities or viewing historic, cultural or natural attractions on the property. The types of risks that these statutes provide protection against are those inherent to agritourism. For example, Arkansas defines an inherent risk in Ark. Code Ann. § 2-11-103(4) as dangers or conditions that are an integral part of an agritourism activity, including without limitation:

  1. The propensity of a wild or domestic animal to behave in ways that may result in injury, harm, or death to persons on or around the wild or domestic animal;
  2. Hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions;
  3. Natural conditions of land, vegetation, and waters;
  4. Ordinary dangers of structures or equipment used in farming or ranching operations; and
  5. The potential of a participant to act in a negligent way that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, whether failing to follow safety procedures or failing to act with

While these are common risks associated with operating an agritourism business, not all potential liabilities are addressed under this definition of inherent risk.  Further, there are further limitations to the scope of protection due to actions such as gross negligence, purposefully causing harm to participants or failing to remedy known or obvious defects that later cause an injury.  The protections provided by agritourism statutes are helpful; however, it is often necessary to consider other options to create multiple levels of liability coverage.


Insurance is an important tool for minimizing legal risk. Some insurance companies do provide policies that cover agritourism operations and it is important that the agritourism operator and the insurance agent carefully go through all of the activities to ensure that they are adequately protected.  This can be an annual discussion for established agritourism operations.  For landowners wanting to take advantage of the solar eclipse then another type of insurance may be a better option. Special event insurance (or sometimes called event liability insurance) are policies that most major insurance companies offer in some variation and insure activities that are not generally covered by a regular policy. Special event insurance provides reimbursement for financial losses if you are held responsible for an accident on your property during your event. If you have specific concerns given the nature of your event or property, be sure to confirm with the insurance provider that those circumstances are covered.


The 2024 solar eclipse provides a unique opportunity for property owners by opening up their property for a variety of agritourism activities. Whether opening your land to campers looking for a place to stay before and after the eclipse or planning larger events and activities to draw in a crowd, there is a lot of potential for tourist traffic and income in the coming months.

There is no perfect approach to protecting yourself from liability during agritourism activities. Consulting with your attorney and insurance provider is a great first step to determining what combination of protections are going to work best for you.

General Agritourism Information

Check out the Agritourism statutes in your state