Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bill protecting the rights of Agritourism signed into law

A bill protecting the rights of Agritourism operators has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

House Bill 1638, by state Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha and Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, protects business owners in the Agritourism industry. It calls for a limited liability for Agritourism operators and protects them against injuries suffered during an Agritourism activity provided the venue is registered with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and a warning label is posted. It does not protect operators in cases of gross negligence or willful disregard of the guest.

“The signing of this bill is great for the small-business owners in the Agritourism industry in Oklahoma,” Rep. Biggs said. “This industry is filled with many family operations that are running a small business in the truest sense of the term. And what they have to offer provides Oklahomans with great resources to learn more about the agricultural economy of the state as well as provide new ways to enjoy their free time in a unique way. Ensuring these operators have this protection will mean these options will be available for us all for years to come.”

Now signed into law, it gives Agritourism operators peace of mind, said Biggs, knowing they can operate their venture without having to worry about finding affordable insurance and frivolous lawsuits which will only bog down the legal system and drain their bank accounts. Oklahoma has more than 380 registered Agritourism venues registered with the Department of Agriculture, including many wonderful venues that offer events such as hunting, trail riding, vineyard tours, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides and farmers markets. 

“Agriculture is and will continue to be a cornerstone of the Oklahoma landscape,” said Biggs. “This new law will only help our farmers and business owners to share their way of life with everyone.” 

The law goes into effect Nov. 1.

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