NATIONWIDE NEWS Agritainment exposures increase liability

Buckeye Farm News

“Agritainment” or “Agritourism” were unfamiliar terms until a few years ago. Farms used to focus solely on the production of grain and/or livestock. The idea of opening up the family farm to the visiting public has only become a reality in recent years.

Today, it’s commonplace. According to the USDA, by the late 1990s, over 62 million people were visiting farms—either to participate in entertaining or educational events, or to conduct business with producers.

The terms “Agritourism” or “Agritainment” encompass a whole spectrum of activities, ranging from on-farm stores to corn mazes. Petting zoos, haunted houses, hay rides and fall festivals are other examples of attractions that are bringing increasing numbers of urban dwellers onto farms.

Besides their positive monetary impact, producers are encouraged by how these sideline businesses increase the public’s understanding of and appreciation for the role of farming in the American economy and food supply.However, it’s also important that farmers understand the increased liability that comes with inviting the public onto their premises. Legal responsibilities for agritainment exposures are quite different from those associated with traditional production farming operations.

“Studies have shown that farming is one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations,” said Jerry Hillard, Nationwide Agribusiness’s AVP of Farm Sales. “That risk increases dramatically when producers market their farms to attract the public. The risks are especially high when children are involved.”

Farmers who offer or are considering agritourism activities need to discuss their specific types of businesses with their insurance agent. “It’s important to get coverage for the activities they conduct on their farm. Usually, the policy that provides liability for the farm business does not extend to liability from other profit-making activities,” Hillard said.Nationwide® Agribusiness offers liability coverages that can be written as a package, in conjunction with a farm policy, to cover agritainment and agritourism exposures.

To locate a Nationwide Agribusiness farm agent, visit Nationwide’s website for Ohio Farm Bureau members or call 800-255-9913.

Nationwide Agribusiness is the farm and agricultural arm of the Nationwide® family of companies. It is the No. 1 farm insurer in the United States. 

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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