Supporters of a new Indiana law aimed at protecting farmers and farm businesses from personal injury lawsuits say it could boost the state's agritourism industry.
The law that took effect Friday seeks to better inform people visiting fruit orchards, self-pick farms, animal exhibitions and other agritourism ventures of the dangers they might encounter at such sites. The law calls for new signs to be placed at agritourism locations, warning participants of the risks involved, and thereby offering the proprietors of such businesses an additional measure of protection against possible litigation.
The Greensburg Daily News reports Indiana is one of 13 states to enact such legislation.
State Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, said the law may help lower insurance costs to companies covering injury claims and should benefit Indiana's overall tourism industry, eventually creating more jobs.
"This legislation takes an important step to protect Indiana's agricultural community as agritourism is vital to the economic health of rural regions in our state and the sustainability of family farms," Frye said in a statement.
He joined Farm Bureau Inc. representatives and other supporters of the law at a Friday news conference at Highpoint Orchard in Greensburg to publicize what they called the nation's most far-reaching law of its kind.
Frye said Indiana's law can serve as a model for other states with large agricultural communities.
The law's proponents call it a common sense initiative that will promote agritourism while also protecting the rights of all who participate in it.
"We want our visitors to enjoy themselves, but they must accept some responsibility for their own behavior," said Randy Cyman, the owner of High Point Orchard.