Publications: Landowner Liability

Equine Activity Statutes

Brigit Rollins, Research Fellow, National Agricultural Law Center
Elizabeth Rumley, Senior Staff Attorney, National Agricultural Law Center

The vast majority of the states in the United States have enacted statutes that limit liability for some form of “equine activity.” From rodeo to trail rides to pony rides, activities involving equines are a popular event.  An equine activity statute is a law designed to limit liability for injuries and deaths connected with horse-related activities. The main component of these statutes is that an equine sponsor or professional is a limitation on liability for injuries resulting from an “inherent risk of equine activities.”  Familiarity with these statutes is essential to anyone who engages in equine activities. This compilation provides the statutory text of each of the states’ equine activity statute.  View this compilation. Posted: April 15, 2019


UAVs and the Law

Rusty RumleySenior Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

Interest in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) has dramatically increased as a result of potential uses for agricultural operations.  However, there are also significant concerns about the proliferation of UAVs, ranging from safety to privacy.  This is coupled with a complex regulatory environment as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working to craft standards that address current and future issues that may arise with UAV use.  This factsheet addresses some of the legal concerns faced by UAV operators across the country.    Download this article. Posted September 17, 2014.


States’ “Fence Law” Statutes

Rusty Rumley, Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center
All 50 states have enacted statutes that address issues of livestock running at large and the fences that may or may not be required to keep them confined. These “fence law” statutes can vary widely from state to state. Many states require owners of livestock to secure the livestock on property that they own or lease; however there are some western states that still follow the “open range” doctrine. The “open range” states reverse the duty to fence in livestock and allow livestock to roam in certain remote parts of the state while requiring other landowners to fence off their land if they wish to keep livestock off of their property.  States’ Fence Law Statutes provides the statutory text of each state’s fence and livestock running at large statutes, along with the date of its possible expiration. The primary aim of this compilation is to provide the researcher with easy and free access to a state’s statutory language by simply clicking on the state’s image in the map below. Download this compilation.



Recreational Access to Private Lands: Liability Problems and Solutions

John D. Copeland

Since first published in 1998, former Center director John Copeland’s book, Recreational Access to Private Lands: Liability Problems and Solutions, has been a frequently requested Center publication in print form.  It has now been digitized and is available here for downloading.  The book addresses the duty of care owed by landowners who allow individuals to enter their lands along with other liability issues that may arise and the recreational use statutes that have been enacted to limit landowner liability.  It further discusses insurance policies that may be purchased to protect against liability, and common exclusions and limitations on those policies.  Finally, the appendices contain summaries of each states’ recreational use statute, along with some sample contracts and a listing of associations, brokers and general agents with information on recreational use policies.  While this book is in the process of being updated, it is important to note that the information presently included is current only to the original date of publication.      Download this book. Originally published in print form August, 1998; digitized edition posted August 4, 2009



Legal Risk Management: Protecting Your Farm and Family – PowerPoint Presentation

Shannon Mirus Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

This February 21, 2009 presentation was given to participants in Arkansas’ Annie’s Project, a multi-state educational program designed to empower farm women to be better business partners  through networks.  Risk management issues that producers should consider, as well as potential solutions to many of these issues are introduced, with special attention given to negligence and premise liability, the use of business organizations as protection for assets, and issues involved in forming and enforcing contracts.        Download this presentation. Posted: May 13, 2009



States’ Recreational Use Statutes

Elizabeth R. Springsteen and Rusty W. Rumley National Agricultural Law Center

All 50 states in the United States have enacted statutes that confer some degree of liability protection to landowners who allow the general public to enter upon or make use of their land for recreational purposes. Commonly referred to as “recreational use statutes,” these laws promote the public policy of encouraging landowners to open their lands so the public may access a wider range of recreational activities. These statutes are of particular importance to agricultural and rural owners of land. This article provides the statutory text of each state’s recreational use statute, along with the date of its possible expiration. The primary aim of this compilation is to provide the researcher with easy and free access to a state’s statutory language by simply clicking on the state’s image on the map provided. Download this article. Posted: February 8, 2008.



The Constitutionality of Partition Fence Statutes in the Midwest

James L. Molloy Associate Professor of Business Law University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Linda A. Reid Assistant Professor of Business Law University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Partition fence statutes are applicable only in rural areas where, historically, land was used primarily for the purpose of raising livestock or crops.  This article surveys the partition fence statutes currently in place in the Midwest where, over time, the use of rural property has evolved from exclusively agricultural to more often residential.  This article further explores the current constitutionality of those statutory schemes in light of the changed nature of rural land use since their enactment.    Download this article. Posted:  Aug. 12, 2004



Recreational Use of Private Lands: Associated Legal Issues and Concerns

Roger A. McEowen Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics & Extension Specialist Kansas State University, Manhattan

Recreational activities on private lands have increased in recent years due to the inability of public lands to meet demand.  The prospect of monetary gain and the liability protection provided by state law for recreational activities on private land provide other incentives for the increased the use of farm and ranch land for recreational activities.  The key questions for those wishing to operate fee-based recreational activities on rural land are potential liability exposure to participants, the extent to which state law provides liability protection, and whether additional steps are necessary to insulate against liability claims.   Download this article. Posted: May 5, 2003.