By Doyice Cotten
In recent years, many states have added statutes providing liability protection for landowners making their agricultural land available for the purposes of agritourism. Currently (June, 2016), the author has found agritourism statutes in 22 states. The statutes vary considerably among states, as can be seen from examining the following table.
Interpreting the Table
First, the column headed Limits Liability for … (column 3) shows that almost all specify protection for injuries resulting from the inherent risks. Negligence, with two question marks, is included in many since negligence is not specified in the No Immunity for … column (column 5). In these states one might assume there is protection for negligence, but the statute does not clearly state this protection is included. So, the reader should do some further investigating locally before relying on the statute for protection against negligent actions.
Column 4 lists some specific actions that receive immunity protection. These actions would generally be construed to constitute negligence.
Column 6 shows that all of the states except Utah (which has a very different type of statute) require that a sign be posted presenting the state statute — supposedly informing the user of the provider immunity. Column 7 shows that most states provide that if there is a contract, waiver, or other agreement to be signed, the state statute must be included in the document.
This is not meant to be an extensive explanation of agritourism statutes for each state — but simply an effort to let you know that such statutes exist and that agritourism businesses in these states should be aware of the requirements. Some states, Georgia for one, require that a waiver be used by the provider and the statute seems to indicate that there is no immunity without it.
See also, the Texas Agritourism article published on this site recently. Tiffany Lashmet does a good job of explaining the new statute in Texas.