The Norman Transcript

Business

May 5, 2013

Agritourism measure gaining steam

NORMAN — Those who participate in agritourism activities such as hayrides and riding horses and get hurt will not be able to sue the agritourism owner as long as a warning is prominently posted on the property about the inherent risks of such activities. 

Senate Bill 931, by Sen. Ron Justice and Rep. Scott Biggs, will provide agritourism professionals with liability protection for such incidents. 

“The agritourism industry in Oklahoma is very popular, but we need to protect those who provide these fun activities, like corn mazes and petting farms, to the public. It’s just commonsense that if you’re around animals, you might get bitten and if you’re on a hayride and you don’t sit down, you could fall off,” said Justice, R-Chickasha. 

“The farmers and ranchers who open up their facilities shouldn’t be punished for others’ lack of good judgment.  This bill will protect the owners from being liable as long as they have all the risks posted for guests to see.”

Under SB 931, assumption of risk will be an affirmative defense against any claim for damages against an agritourism professional.

An agritourism activity is any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes to view or enjoy rural activities.

This includes farming, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities or natural activities and attractions. 

An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not someone pays to participate.  

“The Agritourism industry is filled with many family operations that are running a small business in the truest sense of the term. They provide Oklahomans with great resources to learn more about agricultural in our state as well as provide unique ways to enjoy their free time,” said Biggs, R-Chickasha.  “Agriculture is, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of the Oklahoma landscape.  This new law will help our farmers and business owners continue to share their way of life with others without fear of being sued.”

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