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News Brief

April 23, 2013IA |  By: INS

Iowa Farmers Open to Lawsuits

Every spring, thousands of elementary school children take field trips to farms.

Until a recent Iowa Supreme Court decision, most farmers believed they were protected from lawsuits brought by visitors to their property under a so-called "recreational use" statute. Now, many farm organizations are concerned the court ruling opens farmers up to liability if someone is hurt on a field trip. And Ed Cox, fellow at the Drake Agriculture Law Center, says farmers may be worried about hosting field days.

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He says this shouldn't stop them from hosting field trips, either for children or adults - and that they should simply take precautions.

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Cox says some farmers may opt for having visitors sign waivers, which he says is a useful tool in limiting liability but cautions not to rely on them. He says a landowner who wants protection using the current recreational use statute should make it clear that an invitation to use the property only extends to the activities covered by the law.