Fall is upon us in Central Texas, and that means more outdoor activates. Part of the joy of owning a ranch place is sharing it with friends and family who like to hunt, fish, and camp . . . but such activities do not come without some risks of liability to the landowner.
The Texas Legislature addressed this very real concern in 2015 by passing the Texas Agritourism Act. The Act provides two mechanisms for landowners to protect themselves in the event that an agritourism participant is injured or suffers damages while engaged in an activity on agricultural land. It makes no difference what compensation the landowner receives from the person engaged in the “agritourism” activity.
The Act calls for either specifically worded posted signs at the property or written use agreements with legally mandated wording. The sign above, which I have posted at our property, has the precise wording as required by the Act. It is important to note that the sign is not sufficient notice in the case of minors . . . that would require a correctly written and signed use agreement.
While the Act provides a much better degree of protection to landowners compared to what we once had, it still has some other exceptions. For instance, it does not exempt the owner if an employee is injured or if the owner is deemed negligent. Of course, nothing can keep an injured party from filing suit. The Act just provides a legal defense.
If you need more information regarding this subject, please email me and I will send you a link.
Jeff Stewart, CCIM