New York Farm Bureau Statement on Passage of Inherit Risk Reform for Agritourism Businesses

The bill has been a longtime priority for farmers looking to control rising insurance premiums

“New York Farm Bureau is extremely pleased that the New York State Legislature passed legislation (S.1152A/A.559A) that will provide inherent risk reform for agritourism businesses. This bill has been a top priority for our organization, as it should begin to offer relief to the excessive costs of liability insurance for diverse agricultural operations throughout the state.

This legislation establishes limited liability protections for the inherent risks of inviting the public onto farm business property. Agricultural tourism includes farms offering u-pick Christmas trees, apples and berries, along with hiking, farm and winery tours and equine operations. New York’s litigious environment has diminished the number of insurance carriers willing to cover equine establishments and agricultural tourism operations, while dramatically increasing the cost for liability coverage. This legislation now brings New York’s inherent risk law in line with nearly every other state in the country.

It is important to note that the legislation will not provide New York farms with blanket immunity from responsibility. Instead, it will offer owners some protection from lawsuits by an individual who is taking no responsibility for his or her own actions while visiting a farm or equine facility.

The bipartisan legislation will hopefully assist farmers looking to have a better handle on business costs in a competitive marketplace. The significance of that support cannot be understated. Agritourism is important to both the economy and lifestyle of rural communities. The benefits it offers consumers include access to local products and recreational opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. New York Farm Bureau is especially appreciative of the tenacity of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Robert Ortt and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, in securing its passage, and we encourage Governor Andrew Cuomo to make this long-awaited success official with his signature on the legislation,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.