Peak season has arrived for agritourism and all its farm tours, u-pick produce, hay rides, petting zoos, festivals and hands-on chores.
To help operators prepare for safe and positive visits, the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety has enhanced its, "Agritourism Health and Safety Guidelines for Children."
The second edition of the guidelines is supplemented by two checklist publications designed to help operators plan and prepare for visitors, especially children: "Policies and Procedures Guide" and the "Worksite Guide."
All resources are available at: http://www.marshfieldclinic.org/agritourism.
The guidelines were originally published in 2007. New content includes an updated child development/appropriate safety strategies chart, as well as recommendations regarding Americans with Disabilities Act, food preparation, restrooms, drinking water testing, inspections of animal areas, veterinary and vaccination records, and signage.
Implementation of these guidelines is not intended to absolve the farm owner of liability. They are, however, intended to reduce the risk of a guest being injured and demonstrate a "good faith" effort to protect guests. An agritourism farm in North Carolina implemented many elements of the guidelines and then worked with a local insurance agency to reduce annual liability insurance premiums by $300. To learn more about liability insurance, consult an insurance agent and/or an attorney who is familiar with this type of activity.