; Agritourism Safety and Liability: Updating Best Risk Management Practices for the COVID-19 Pandemic | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Agritourism Safety and Liability: Updating Best Risk Management Practices for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Doolarie Singh-Knights, Lisa Chase, Claudia Schmidt, and Chadley Hollas


A national survey in 2019 of producers with agritourism and on-farm direct sales found that liability and safety concerns were among the top challenges facing producers, with 81 percent of respondents concerned about liability issues, 73 percent concerned about managing visitor accessibility, 66 percent concerned about food safety, and 55 percent concerned about biosecurity. This was in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has heightened concerns about safety and sanitation everywhere, and farms open to visitors are no exception. High-quality safety protocols, including handwashing stations and signage, are no longer optional; they are an essential measure for controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

To address these challenges, a multistate project team from Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania hosted several educational workshops online and in-person, and conducted on-farm safety assessments in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New Hampshire. This presentation will cover the project’s overall methodology to address agritourism safety and liability issues, and discuss findings from the on-farm assessments, including challenges, barriers, and improvements needed regarding safety and liability for agritourism operations. The presentation will also discuss the priority areas addressed in individual farm safety plans and the overall benefits accrued to operators from improvements in safety and liability compliance. This information can be used by other agricultural service providers to help their respective target audiences assess and prioritize safety and liability concerns and to develop a holistic farm safety risk management program.