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Grange applauds house passage of bill

The Pennsylvania State Grange supports the Feb. 5 vote by the state House of Representatives to pass legislation providing limited civil liability to farmers seeking to offer agritourism and/or agri-entertainment to the general public.

House Bill 101 which is sponsored by Rep. Barb Gleim, R-Cumberland, was passed by a vote of 142-60 and now goes to the Pennsylvania Senate for concurrence.

House Bill 101 has no fiscal impact on the commonwealth’s budget and helps farmers develop other sources of income to keep the family farm in operation.

Liability protection for farmers engaged in agritourism is one of Pennsylvania State Grange’s main priorities in the 2021-22 legislative session . House Bill 101 was identified as a reform that could and should be taken to better enable dairy and other farms to diversify and bring in additional revenue by the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission, of which the Pennsylvania State Grange was represented.

“I am thrilled that the one of the grange’s priorities was passed so swiftly by the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority,” said Wayne Campbell, Pennsylvania State Grange president. “This bill costs the Commonwealth zero money but will give back tenfold in tourism revenue for farmers.”

Under House Bill 101, a farmer is still liable if he or she is grossly negligent in not preparing reasonable safeguards to protect the farm’s visitors. The bill does not void that responsibility. Visitors are reminded that there are inherent risks on a working farm. Visitors should stay within designated areas, should stay off farm equipment and should not bother animals unless it is part of the properly supervised agritourism experience. The written notification protects the farmer from a lawsuit stemming from a visitor’s unwise behavior.

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