As the legislative sessions for many states are wrapping up, three states have recently passed agritourism statutes designed to reduce help reduce some of the legal liability surrounding so-called “inherent risks” of agritourism operations. Oklahoma, Idahoand Floridahave each passed laws that will come in to effect in the coming months. The Florida and Ohio laws are set to become law on July 1, 2013. The Oklahoma law is set to be effective on November 1. Inherent risks are typically defined to include natural conditions of the land, water, wild and domestic animals, farm buildings, equipment, and other risks associated with farming, ranching or forestry. Both statutes are written to cover negligent acts by other participants on the farm.
One interesting difference between the three new agritourism laws is found in their exceptions to the liability protection. The Florida statute states that gross negligence on the part of the agritourism operators will disallow any protection under the new law. However, the Idaho and Oklahoma statutes will disallow protection if the operator or their employees commit any negligent act or omission.
Many states have enacted similar legislation, and there are a number of legal issues associated with agritourism. For a recently updated list of states’ agritourism laws, visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s State Compilation of Agritourism Statutes. In addition, more legal research and information pertaining to Agritourism is available on the National Agricultural Law Center Agritourism Reading Room.
For questions regarding the legal issues in agritourism, please contact Staff Attorney Rusty Rumley at email@example.com.