Pa. farmers offering corn mazes, hayrides and the like seek liability protection

    A state House proposal to limit the liability of farmers hosting “agritainment” on their property has hit a rough patch in Pennsylvania.

    The latest plan would limit the kind of lawsuits that can be filed against owners of attractions such as hayrides, farm tours, and pick-your-own crop operations — but only if those attractions are free of charge.

    The amendment, narrowly adopted on the House floor, defeats the purpose of the legislation, said Mark O’Neill, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

    “The whole idea of the bill is to have liability protection for farmers who operate agritourism,” he said Monday. “And agritourism enterprises generally charge an admission fee because the farmers have put these things in place to begin with in order to help generate more income to the farm so that they continue all forms of farming in the future.”

    The original intent of the proposal was to keep insurance rates down for farmers who are trying to make their land more profitable, O’Neill said.

    The legislation has yet to pass the full House.

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