The state Assembly has approved legislation that will help farms that double as tourist attractions avoid civil lawsuits.
The bill from state Representative Lee Nerison (R-Westby) would allow farms that open their property as an agricultural tourism site to have some limited protection from being sued, if someone is injured or killed while visiting. Nerison says “we’re four or five generations removed from the farm now, and people now want to come back to the farm and see how it operates, and a lot of them don’t realize that apparent risk that’s there every day.”
The bill gives farms some immunity from civil liability if a guest is hurt or killed by a common danger. Operations that charge visitors would have to post signs warning them about potential hazards.
State Representative Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) a dairy farmer from Cuba City, says that protection is needed for farmers that allow guests from all over the world to come visit. He says the legislation was sparked by a case in Iowa, where a farm was sued when an adult touring a farm fell down a hay chute. Tranel says those visiting farms need to “understand that there are some risks and that common sense should be in place.”
The bill passed on a bipartisan 85-9 vote. It now heads to the state Senate.