Senate passes agritourism bill

The Ohio Senate passed an agritourism bill recently that is based on model legislation developed by Ohio Farm Bureau. Sponsored by Sens. Shannon Jones and Bob Peterson, Senate Bill 75 passed 30-1 and was sent to the Ohio House for further consideration. The House unanimously passed its own version last May.

The agritourism bills address OFBF members’ concerns about zoning, liability and the application of the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV). Having an agritourism bill pass will help promote small business growth and expand opportunities for the state’s agricultural industry.

SB 75 would limit the authority of a board of county commissioners or board of township trustees to prohibit agritourism through zoning and protect agritourism providers from civil action in cases associated with the inherent risks of a farm. If passed, the legislation would also clarify that conducting agritourism activities on farmland would not disqualify that land from inclusion in the CAUV program.

The bill specifies that landowners would have to post signs warning participants there is no liability for injury or death associated with the inherent risks of agritourism activities. Inherent risks, defined in the bill, include the risk of injury inherent to land, equipment and animals as well as participants acting in a negligent manner that may contribute to their injury or death.