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Florida Agritourism Law

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Florida AgriTourism Law

As Wisconsin moves forward in attempting to develop legislation for agricultural commerce that covers event barns, keeps our members businesses classified as agriculture and not commercial.  The state of Florida has been working to develop their own legislation.  The article below outlines the changes they have made. 

Three years after passing a law protecting farms who participate in agritourism, the state of Florida has passed another version that clarifies questions that arose, University of Florida/Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences Extension reports.

Florida has a lot of agritourism: 105 million visitors spending more than $85 billion in 2015, according to VISIT Florida. The number of Florida farms offering recreational experiences more than doubled from 281 in 2007 to 724 in 2012, according to USDA Census of Agriculture data.

So when the 2013 Agritourism Law was passed, farm marketers were relieved. It changed in the Florida Statutes to reduce liability for agritourism farms, so long as a warning sign is posted indicating participation in agritourism activities involves inherent risks, and notifying participants that by choosing to participate they are accepting these risks. The change didn't protect gross negligence, but provided some assurance for farms on the fence about opening their farm to the public.

Included in those changes was language to prevent local authorities from imposing regulations to prevent agricultural operations from engaging in agritourism,

After the ink dried on the law, however, many questions arose. Several operations found themselves in difficult circumstances, as local authorities grappled with the new law, which lacked a reference to enforcement of existing local regulations. The definition of agritourism itself was a point of confusion, especially where the on-farm activities were not clearly related to agriculture. Rustic on-farm weddings have become a hot trend but were not specifically cited as an agritourism activity.

 

Enter the 2016 improvements.

The 2016 edition clarifies these questions with specific language to address the points of contention. Local governments are prohibited from not only from enacting new regulations to limit agritourism, but also from enforcing existing regulations. The concerns of local government were also addressed, however, with the addition of language that allows them power to address "substantial offsite impacts" of agritourism activities. Language to describe an agritourism activity was expanded and specifically includes civic and ceremonial activities.

To learn more click here to read the entire article. 

http://www.growingproduce.com/farm-marketing/florida-clarifies-its-agritourism-law/

 

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