I'm looking for ways to protect a U-Pick and Cut Tree Farm from Liability....

Asked December 11, 2015, 1:50 PM EST

I'm looking for ways to protect a U-Pick and Cut Tree Farm from Liability. What should be said on warning signs and what are other ways I can help ensure that people coming on the farm are warned of any dangers such as where trees have been dug and their are remain holes in the fields. Thank You.

1 Response

In regards to the picking of produce, Ohio has a law that provides immunity from liability for injuries that result from naturally occurring hazards related to the cultivation of the soil or the natural terrain. Even so, it is a good management practice to keep u-pick customers away from dangerous conditions by way of roping, signs, flags, etc. The same practice would apply to a u-cut tree farm, and these actions are even more important in this situation because Ohio law does not provide immunity from liability for u-cut operations.
When warning customers of a potential danger, it is best to keep them away from the danger with a physical barrier, but a warning sign is helpful if barricades would be impractical or impossible. Signs should be easy to read and visible and should inform customers of the danger so that they know how to protect themselves. For example, a sign posted in the middle of a field that says "Danger" isn't as protective of customers as one that says "Warning: Open Hole."
For more information, please refer to this article I wrote for the Ohio Ag Manager: http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu/legal-issues/legal-liability-issues-for-pick-your-own-operators/