– The state House passed two important bills this week that will help support the state’s agriculture industry by removing barriers to agritourism and ensuring dairy farmers can transport their milk in inclement weather, said Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter).
“Our farmers are the reason we have food on our tables each day,” Owlett said. “They need and deserve our support, and one way we can do that is by adopting policies that will make their jobs a little easier.”
House Bill 101
creates the Agritourism Activity Protection Act to provide limited civil liability protections to people who offer agritourism activities on their farms. The bill would require the farmer or other activity provider to post specific warning signs and have a signed, written agreement with a participant that they have acknowledged the risk of participating in the activity.
The protections would not apply if the farmer or provider acts in a grossly negligent manner, purposefully causes the participant injury, commits an action or inaction that constitutes criminal conduct and causes the participant injury, or recklessly fails to warn or guard against a dangerous condition that causes injury or damages to a participant.
“Agritourism has helped many farmers diversify their operations to keep their farms going,” Owlett said. “It’s also beneficial because it gives the public the opportunity to explore and learn about farming and the hard work that goes into raising crops and animals that help feed us on a daily basis.”
Owlett also voted in support of a bill that would exempt milk trucks from weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans in the Commonwealth. A similar measure was approved in a bipartisan vote last session but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. House Bill 186
would require milk haulers who wish to be exempt during travel bans to obtain a decal issued by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board.
“Cows don’t stop producing milk just because it starts to snow,” Owlett said. “Milk is highly perishable, and farmers have limited bulk tank capacity to store it. Milk haulers need to be able to get to the farms and transport the milk; otherwise, farmers will be forced to dump it, which causes more financial strain on their operations.”
Both bills passed with significant bipartisan support and head to the Senate for consideration.