– Rep. Barb Gleim’s (R- Cumberland) legislation, House Bill 101
, providing farmers limited civil liability protections while opening their farms to the public for a fee, was signed into law as Act 27 of 2021.
“Pennsylvania’s farms and the families that run them feed our nation, and agriculture is our number one business within the state,” Gleim said. “Many farmers in Pennsylvania are turning to agritourism to augment their income as they continue to raise traditional crops, helping them remain economically viable.”
Farm markets, pick-your-own produce, corn mazes, Petting zoos, hayrides and farm tours are the types of enterprises that fall under what would be called agritourism. They can make the difference between having a positive year on the ledger as opposed to ending up in the red, especially for small family farmers.
Act 27 provides family farms the means to diversify by protecting agritourism business from frivolous lawsuits where no party is at fault for injuries or damages. It will also help farmers feel more at ease having school and educational groups tour and partner with state grant programs.
“Getting this measure into Pennsylvania law required bringing all concerned parties together and finding middle ground that benefited everyone,” Gleim said. “It was rewarding work, knowing the industry is aging and needs to expose future generations to its vocation through the current farming community. I am pleased and thankful that the General Assembly, Governor and stakeholders understood how important the policy was to finalize.”