There following are some of the things you can do to reduce risks of injury or property damage.

  1. Conduct routine safety audits of your property. Whatever possible, remove potentially dangerous objects, such as a rusty but sharp piece of old equipment.
  2. Fill in abandoned wells or other dangerous holes.
  3. When corrective measures are possible, be sure to fence off dangerous areas and, if that is not possible, at least post obvious warning signs.
  4. If you have made your property available to multiple hunters at one time, make sure they are all aware of each other's presence, where they will each be hunting, and that they are wearing highly visible safety clothing.
  5. As much as possible, keep domestic livestock (including bucks/bulls in rut) and recreational users apart. Get rid of, or at least completely secure, any ill-tempered or vicious animals, including watch dogs.
  6. Secure all attractive nuisances, such as barns and working machinery. Many recreational users bring their children with them. You can be held liable if the children are injured, even if their parents were negligent in supervising them.
  7. Establish and post guidelines of behaviour for land entrants. For example, if you require children to be constantly supervised by parents you should say so in writing. The same is true if you forbid access to certain parts of your property, or the use of alcoholic beverages. Just as important, require anyone who violates your rules to immediately leave the premises.
  8. Make sure you have emergency equipment and supplies handy in case anyone is injured.
  9. Carefully screen all of your potential employees and train them as to their duties and responsibilities in dealing with recreational users.
  10. Make sure that some of your employees, or you, are trained in life saving and other emergency response measures.

Taking the above precautions will reduce your liability exposure and will give you greater peace of mind when people visit your farm for a variety of reasons.

[Source: Copeland John, D. Recreational Access to Private Lands: Liability Problems and Solutions. 1998: National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information, University of Arkansas, http://law.uark.arklaw/aglaw and]

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