October 24, 2014

New Agritourism Law Protects Maine Beekeepers

In April, the Governor of Maine signed a new law that protects beekeepers, farmers and others in Maine’s agritourism industry from liability.

H.P. 1214 – L.D. 1605 – PUBLIC Law Chapter 609    (“An Act To Promote Agricultural Activity in Maine by Limiting the Liability for Agritourism Activities”) provides this limited protection for landowners as long as they post signs stating that visitors accept the inherent risks of any activity associated with their business. Simply put, anyone who files a lawsuit claiming injury must demonstrate more than just an inherent risk.

§251. Definitions  

“Agritourism activity” means any agricultural activity carried out on a farm or ranch that members of the general public are allowed to view or participate in, including farming, ranching, historical and cultural activities, harvest-your- own activities and attractions related to farming or ranching. An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not the participant pays to view or participate in the activity.

Individuals /clubs hosting Open Hives should post, in a clearly visible location, a sign containing the message in the sample shown below, typeset in black letters at least one inch in height.

Maine Beekeepers Agritourism Warning Sign 11×17 (PDF) PDF

(This sample is too small to be blown-up to fit on an 11″ x 17″ sheet of paper and still be legible.  It is best to download the full-size PDF above in order to comply with the type-size stipulations.)

W A R N I N G • Under Maine law, there is no liability for injury to a participant in an agritourism activity conducted at this agritourism location if such injury results from the inherent risks of the agritourism activity. Inherent risks of agritourism activities include, among others, risks of injury inherent to land, equipment and animals, as well as the potential for injury if you act in a negligent manner. You are assuming the risk of participating in this agritourism activity.

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