July 1, 2011
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Rep. Randy Frye, 800-382-9841
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Law to limit liability of agritourism providers takes effect
A new law that limits the liability of agritourism providers went into effect today.
House Enrolled Act 1133, which was authored by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, states that individuals who participate in agritourism activities must accept and acknowledge that there is a potential danger in the activity and that they also accept and acknowledge that risk. This, in return, allows agritourism providers immunity from liability.
"The threat of a risk is always on our mind when we open our facilities up to the public,” said Randy Cyman, owner of High Point Orchards in Greensburg. “We want our visitors to enjoy themselves, but they must accept some responsibility for their own behavior.”
Cyman spoke at a news conference at High Point Orchards in Greensburg. He was joined by Frye and by Bob Kraft, director of state government relations at Indiana Farm Bureau, which supported the bill through the legislative process.
Agritourism can be defined as any activity that allows members of the general public to experience, view or enjoy rural activities for recreational, entertainment or educational purposes. Examples include activities such as orchards, self-pick farms, farmers markets and animal exhibitions at fairs. If providers charge for the activity, then they must either post a warning sign at the entrance or require participants to sign a waiver.
“This legislation takes an important step to protect Indiana’s agricultural community as agritourism is vital to the economic health of rural regions in our state and the sustainability of family farms,” Frye said.
Frye added that this industry is a good way for people to understand and learn about agriculture while gaining firsthand experience.
Indiana Farm Bureau also recognizes the importance for this type of law, which also does not excuse negligent behavior on part of the agritourism provider.
"Farm Bureau also identifies that the agritourism industry is an important and rapidly growing segment of the state’s agricultural economy,” Kraft said. “This law represents and important step forward in assuring stability and encourage more involvement with the agritourism industry.”
The bill was also sponsored by Sen. Brent Steele, R- Bedford, who helped engineer it through the legislative process this year.
“We’re pleased that lawmakers are sensitive to the things that small agritourism goes through,” Cyman said. “We are glad that it is being addressed and think this is step in the right direction. “We appreciate all of the work that Rep. Frye, Sen. Steele and Farm Bureau did to make it happen.”