Agritourism bill based on Farm Bureau model legislation passes

An agritourism bill based on model legislation developed by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk for approval after the House signed off on it Wednesday. The Senate had already approved the bill 30-1. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law.

Having a vibrant agritourism community helps attract in-and out-of-state visitors to experience agriculture, Ohio’s No. 1 industry. Ohio’s agritourism options are diverse and include farm stands, corn mazes, u-pick fruit farms and farm tours.

Senate Bill 75 addresses concerns expressed by Ohio Farm Bureau members about zoning, liability and how land for agritourism is taxed.

The bill limits the authority of a board of county commissioners or board of township trustees to prohibit agritourism through zoning, clarifies that conducting agritourism activities on farmland does not disqualify that land from inclusion in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program and establishes immunity in a civil action for agritourism providers. 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 conditions of the dangers associated with equipment and animals as well as participants acting in a negligent manner.

“Having this bill pass opens the door for more farmers to participate in agritourism activities or expand their operations because it provides clarity on several regulations and addresses concerns about liability,” said OFBF Executive Vice President John C. (Jack) Fisher, pointing out that the bill does not absolve farmers from any liability. “Having supplemental income from agritourism activities will help some farmers keep their farmland.”

Ohio Farm Bureau thanked Sens. Bob Peterson, R-Sabina, and Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, for sponsoring the Senate version of the bill and Rep. Tony Burkley, R-Paulding, for being the sponsor of the House version.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Joe Cornely, 614-246-8230.