Over the years, our family has hosted visitors on the farm, selling Christmas trees from our tree fields, inviting customers on the farm for open houses and bus tours. Liability insurance for these enterprises was always something we were aware of, even if we weren’t sure if we had enough coverage.
In the December issue of Nebraska Farmer, I had the pleasure of visiting Kreycik Riverview Elk and Buffalo Ranch along the Niobrara River. Chris and Kenard Kreycik host about 3000 visitors every year in covered wagon rides through their elk and buffalo pastures. They sell homegrown elk and buffalo meat. They host hunters from around the country for elk, buffalo, fallow deer and bighorn sheep hunts. They are pros when it comes to agritourism. But they have learned through trial and error.
In the interview, Chris Kreycik said basically that purchasing liability insurance coverage for the enterprise depends on your goals. If you want to make a good profit and if you treat the enterprise like a business that contributes in a meaningful way to the farm’s bottomline, then you need to purchase insurance to cover your exposure to liability, just as you’d purchase inputs for any crop or farm enterprise. Don’t skimp.
But she advised that if you are going to pay the premiums for the insurance, you need to plan to make some money at what you are doing to cover your costs.
THE FARM EXPERIENCE: Young guests enjoy viewing and feeding elk and buffalo from the safety of a covered wagon at the Kreycik Ranch near Niobrara
In talking with insurance agent friends, I’ve learned that you need to take the guesswork out of your coverage and visit with your personal agent, to understand the best options and most effective use of insurance at your farm.
With the number of agritourism enterprises exploding on farms and ranches across the Great Plains, this issue is not an easy one. Each insurance company or agent has a different take on liability when it comes to these ventures. Small, part time enterprises that host minimal numbers and happen only sporadically are probably not a concern. But full-time or seasonal enterprises that are serious business ventures require attention when it comes to insurance coverage.
You certainly don’t want to find out the answers to your insurance questions the hard way. Talk with your agent and make informed decisions about your liability insurance before you expand agritourism ventures.
And don’t forget the Governor’s Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop coming up in Kearney on Feb. 1 and 2, offering you opportunities to learn more about insurance and other issues and to network with folks who have been at it for a while.
Here’s a link for more info - Governor's Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop