Two ag bills pass Pennsylvania House

Milk truck
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

A bill to protect Pennsylvania farms involved in agritourism passed the state House with a wide margin.

House Bill 101 would give farmers limited liability protection to farmers offering agritourism activities on their properties. To receive protection, farms would have to warn visitors of potential risks by having them sign a waiver or printing a disclaimer on a ticket or other materials given to the visitors.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Barbara Gleim, R-Cumberland County, passed the House 142-60 and will move on to the state Senate.

The agritourism liability protection piece of the bill was tacked onto a broader bill related to COVID-19 liability going before Gov. Tom Wolf last fall. Wolf vetoed that bill, but objected to the COVID-related parts of it, not the agritourism parts.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau celebrated the House passage of the legislation, calling it commonsense reform that would allow Pennsylvania farmers to diversify their businesses without fear of frivolous lawsuits.

“Factors such as weather, uneven ground and unpredictable animals make it impossible to eliminate every hazard, despite farmers’ best efforts,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert, in a statement.

Milk hauler bill

Another piece of ag legislation also passed the state House with a bipartisan vote. House Bill 186 would exempt milk trucks from weather-related commercial vehicle bans. The bill passed 125-77.

Wolf vetoed a similar measure last session, citing public safety concerns. Under the bill, for milk haulers to be exempt, they would have to get a decal issued by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board.

“While I can appreciate the public safety concerns that may prompt officials to impose a travel ban on commercial vehicles, an exception for milk hauling is necessary because milking schedules can’t be changed to comply with weather or travel conditions,” said Rep. Martin Causer, R-McKean County, the prime sponsor of the legislation.


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