New law protects farmers
A new law in Idaho will protect farmers and ranchers who have visitors tour their farms.
Idaho Falls grower James Hoff owns a potato and grain farm. Hoff Brothers Incorporated gives tours to people educating them on agriculture.
"We like to do it just so people are aware of what agriculture is about and you know who we are. We're not just hillbillies out here," said Hoff.
The new law defines agritourism as any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows people to experience and understand agriculture. Hoff said the Idaho Agritourism Promotion Act will help him feel more secure.
"I think its going to be a good thing for those of us that do agritourism. You know it's sad in my mind that we have to have legislation that helps protects us from stuff like this. I think things happen and we're on a farm and it can be dangerous around equipment," he said.
The law provides certain limited liability if a person should happen to have an accident during a tour, but protection will only be given to growers who post warnings about the risks and hazards on a farm. While taking a tour Monday, Hoff made sure I knew the rules.
"You know if you were to get too close to this machine, this piece could come back and it could get your finger right there," he said.
Hoff said safety is his No.1 priority and the law doesn't change that.
"Most of our equipment has placards on it. You can see the warning sticker there, but if things are moving around we make it very clear to people its very dangerous," he said.
Proponents of the law say the legislation will lighten the concerns of bringing people onto one's farm. There wasn't much opposition in the legislature it passed with a 103-2 vote.
The law doesn't excuse farms or ranches for being negligent during a tour. You can read the entire law at http://legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0113.pdf. It goes into effect July 1.
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