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Rep. Koehler Votes for Bill to Promote Ohio's "Agritourism" Industry

May 27, 2015
J. Kyle Koehler News

Today, State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation that grants agritourism operators civil liability protection for injuries that occur during agritourism activities.

“More and more, the Ohio consumer is unable to make a direct link between the food on his table and the farms that produce his food,” Koehler said. “Agritourism allows the farmer and the consumer to make that direct link and to see how their food is produced and brought to the market. House Bill 80 allows the farmer to open his operation for consumers without facing liability issues or penalizing him to redefine the use of his land.”

The bill protects agritourism providers from frivolous lawsuits resulting from accidents that occur during an activity with inherent risk, including surface and subsurface land conditions, the actions of animals, and ordinary dangers associated with equipment and structures used in farming operations.

Conversely, the legislation holds all operators accountable by withholding immunity in the case of willful or wanton disregard for participants’ safety, criminal behavior that causes harm to visitors, or failure to post and maintain required warning signs on the property.

In addition, by ensuring that agritourism operations cannot be prohibited by zoning authorities, House Bill 80 enables local farm markets and agriculture property owners to offer the “farm experience” to everyday Ohioans.

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.