Managing Risk on Farms Open to the Public

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This publication is written for all farm businesses that invite customers onto the farm for such on-farm activities as direct farm marketing, pick-your-own (PYO), on-farm entertainment (wagon rides, hay rides, haunted houses, mazes, pony rides, slides, tricycle tracks, nature walks, enchanted forests), group functions (weddings, corporate picnics, school tours, birthday parties, family reunions, corporate retreats), food service (snacks, catered meals, tea rooms, restaurants, bakeries), and sales of value-added or retail products.

Farms that invite customers onto the farm are often known as “agritourism” enterprises. Agritourism can be defined as the act of visiting a working farm or agribusiness operation for the purpose of enjoyment, procuring a product or service, education or personal involvement in the activities of the farm operation.

There are safety risks and hazards involved with any business venture. Operating an agritourism business is no exception. This Factsheet will identify the types of risks and outline several ways to minimize them. It will also look at contingency planning and preparedness for emergencies. Finally, it will examine ways to transfer risk away from agritourism farm owners through insurance coverage.

M. Fitts
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs