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Got visitors coming? Cover your farm liability risksGot visitors coming? Cover your farm liability risks

Ultimate farm safety test: Where and when might a 2-year-old be at risk?

John Vogel

April 24, 2018

2 Min Read
SIGNS EVERYWHERE: Clear signage never leaves guessing and inadvertent wandering to visitors.

Most of us don’t think about safety issues until it's too late. Then the thinking shifts to, "I wish I had…"

To help you think preventive and plan ahead, take a look at New York Department of Agriculture and Markets’ new Safety in Agricultural Tourism guide. It’s just in time for upcoming season of farm and winery tours, farm markets, cideries, equine operations and u-pick operations.

The guide clarifies responsibilities of agri-tourism and equine business operators and their visitors under the Safety in Agricultural Tourism Act signed into New York law last year. Its best management practices will help evaluate possible risks and enhance your liability protection regardless of where you farm. It addresses events and activities conducted for educational or recreational purposes, and those benefiting your farm through the sale, marketing, production, harvesting or use of the farm’s products.

It can also help create effective, informative signs. The document also describes the public’s responsibilities when visiting these agri-tourism locations.

What’s inside the guide
Major requirements include, but are not limited to:

• Warning signs posted in conspicuous locations on the potential risks of the on-farm activities and the responsibilities of visitors.

• Warning signs should be easy to read and clearly identify risks as specifically as possible. With multiple on-farm activities, more than one sign may be needed.

• Off-limit areas that are clearly identified to visitors with signage stating, for example, “Employees Only,” or “No Visitors.”

• Adequate employee training that includes preparing them to guide and instruct the public, as well as effectively communicating the risks and responsibilities of visitors.

• Visitor responsibility signage is required to be posted under this law at every point of sale or place of ticket distribution.

• Be sure signage is used that conforms with your state’s laws. Signs found on the web or developed for other states may not meet your state’s requirements.

"New York Farm Bureau advocated for these necessary reforms to hopefully provide some relief to excessive costs of liability insurance for equine facilities, u-pick it operations and Christmas tree farms," says David Fisher, Farm Bureau president. "It's also important for the general public to understand there are inherent risks to stepping foot on a farm." That means visitors must be informed.

Check out more suggestions inside the guide. Maybe even conduct the ultimate farm safety test: Where and when might a two-year-old be at risk?

Information provided by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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