Limited liability approved for agritourism

Senators passed a bill May 21 that is intended to remove obstacles for landowners wishing to host farm tours and events.

Under LB329, introduced by Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz, any owner who allows visitors on their land to participate in agritourism activities will not be liable for injury or death of a visitor resulting from inherent risk. Visitors must be warned of potential dangers by a sign or in a contract by any owner that charges a fee for visitors to participate.

Agritourism activities can include hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, birding, farm, ranch and vineyard tours, harvest-your-own activities, boating and other water sports.

The bill defines inherent risk as any condition, danger or hazard that is an integral part of land or water used for agritourism, including:
• surface and subsurface conditions and natural conditions of land, vegetation and waters;
• the behavior of wild or domestic animals;
• the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment ordinarily used in farming or ranching when such structures or equipment are used for farming or ranching purposes; and
• the potential of a participant to act in a negligent way that may contribute to injury of the participant or others.

Inherent risk does not include any act or omission of information that occurred while a person was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, or any other illegal activity or action.

Liability is not limited for any owner who knows of potential dangers and takes no action to correct those issues. Owners are liable for any actions that constitute intentional or willful gross negligence.

Any owner who fails to properly train or supervise employees actively engaged in agritourism activities will be held liable under LB329.

The bill passed on a 46-0 vote.

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