A bill intended to increase protections for farms and ranches that allow tourists onto their property for an up-close look at real-life agriculture may actually increase exposure to lawsuits for working farms and ranches, an analysis by Colorado Civil Justice League indicates.
“I know the intentions behind this bill are noble, but the fact is that ordinary farms and ranches actually lose protections,” Colorado Civil Justice League executive director Mark Hillman said in a new release.
Hillman also operates a farm on the eastern Plains.
“Let’s hope these shortcomings can be fixed, so the bill truly is helpful to agriculture,” he added.
Under current law, farms and ranches that allow or invite visitors to watch or participate in ordinary activities related to agriculture are required to “exercise reasonable care” or to give a “warning of any dangers that are ordinarily present.”
HB 1280 removes the option to “exercise reasonable care,” notes the analysis by Colorado Civil Justice League, it strips farms and ranches of any protection if they didn’t require visitors to sign a waiver of liability or didn’t post signs explaining the inherent risks, and the bill lowers the standard of care required from “willful or wanton.”