New York Equine Inherent Risk Signage
Required to be protected by The New York Safety in Agriculture Tourism Act
On October 23, 2017, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the “Safety in Agriculture Tourism Act.” This law is an inherent risk act intended to shield equine and agricultural tourism businesses from liability for the potential risks incurred by inviting the public onto farm property.
Marcia Jacobowitz, a partner with Jacobowitz and Gubits LLP, who
concentrates in Equine Law and Real Estate would like to help the
Equine community better understand the new Inherent Risk Law as part
of the Safety in Agricultural Tourism Act that went into effect in October,
This new law protects owners and operators of equine activities (farms,
barns, stables, etc.*) from liability for injuries or death that occur on their
property, but ONLY IF YOU HAVE POSTED THE APPROPRIATE SIGNAGE.
*The Safety in Agricultural Tourism Act includes activities such as:
production of maple sap and pure maple products, farm and winery tourism, equine activities (excluding equine therapy), U-pick Christmas Trees, hiking, and other forms of outdoor recreation which activities are conducted by a farmer, on the farm property, offered to farm visitors for
their enjoyment or for education of the public.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets released guidelines as to what these signs must look like:
1. WARNING TO VISITORS SIGN
Notifying visitors of the inherent risks of equine or other farm activities.
– owners and operators need to conspicuously post a Warning to Vistiors sign relative to the inherent
risks of participating in activities on working farms at every point of sale or distribution of tickets, setting up rides, or excursions, whether on or off the farm.
2. VISITORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES SIGN
Identifying the responsibilities of visitors while on the property. – prominently post notice at every point of sale or place of ticket distribution
stating that visitors to an agricultural toursism area have the responsibility to: exercise reasonable care regarding the disclosed risks of the agricultural activity and comply with posted directional signs; reasonable remain in areas designated for the agricultural tourism activity; reasonably follow all cospicuously posted rules of conduct.
3. RIGHT TO REFUND SIGN
Informing visitors of their right to a refund if they are unwilling to accept the risks specified in the Warning to Visitors Sign.
– post conspicuous notice to visitors of the right to a refund of the amount paid for the purchase of tickets or activity. Refund is conditioned on the
purchaser’s declaration to the operator that he or she is unprepared or unwilling to accept the inherent risks of the activity or assume the duty of
4. DIRECTIONAL SIGNAGE
Must be placed to advise visitors of the Warning and Visitor Signs.
– Post and maintain way finding signage to delineate the paths, areas and buildings that are open to the public. Identify areas that are off
limits to visitors.
Operators are required to provide written informationthat conspicuously directs the attention of all visitors to the Warning and Visitors signs. Signs can be purchased at www.anicesign.com/equine.
Furthermore, owners and operators should adequately train employees who are actively involved in agricultrual tourism activities including proper information and skills that would help employees prevent visitors from being harmed by foreseeable and preventable risks.
The New York State Agriculture and Markets suggests farm operators work with their legal professional and insurance carrier to perform a “risk assessment” to identify the potential risks to visitors specific to your location.