Opening a farm to visitors carries certain risks, but operators can be proactive by reviewing some basic questions
Farmers and landowners who open their property to the public face some unique risks and responsibilities.
To help ensure their operation is following best practices, a group of agritourism experts with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has put together six checklists that cover the many types of liability an owner may face.
Compiled by Kendra Meyer, Visit Iowa Farms program coordinator at ISU Extension and Outreach, the checklists ask producers to mark “yes” or “no” to each question, or “not applicable.”
The checklists are not to be considered a certification, but they do help producers understand their strengths and weaknesses, Meyer said, and identify areas where they may need to improve.
“The checklists serve as a measurement tool to help guide agritourism operators through best practice techniques to use on their farm, to alleviate the risks that arise once employees and visitors come onto their farm,” Meyer said.
Topics include employee and visitor health and hygiene, employee training, recordkeeping, food preparation and storage, legal risks and much more.
The checklists were written with federal and food safety standards in mind, Meyer said, and with input from the Agritourism Destination Safety and Health Best Practicesworkshops that were held in 2018.
Input was provided by Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health, and experts from Iowa State’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, Pesticide Safety Education Program, and Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.
The checklists are available for download from the ISU Extension and Outreach Store.