Farmland Nuisances

Some farmland is more than just working land. Natural features like ponds may detract from the overall crop potential of a piece of farmland. More, these “attractive farm nuisances” can also add to the farmland owner’s liability. When that’s the case, it’s important for the landowner to work with a specialists who can best identify the risks and put a protection plan in place.

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What is an attractive farm nuisance?

An attractive nuisance is a potentially hazardous feature or condition on a piece of land that may attract children or adults who could incur injury. Attractive farm nuisances open up a new liability to the landowner. It’s normal practice to require an invitation for any visitors to a piece of farmland. But trespassing is common, especially with minors.

There is separate legal precedent for any injuries incurred by someone on your land depending on whether that person was invited or trespassed. But if your land features an attractive nuisance like a pond or sharp change in elevation — or a man-made feature like equipment storage — you as the landowner may bear the burden of protecting yourself from the liability it creates.

What you can do to protect yourself

Federal, state and local laws often require landowners to “take reasonable precautions” to help ensure the safety of anyone stepping onto their land. For farmland, that includes posting highly visible signs laying out requirements for entry onto your land. But the laws are often far from crystal clear. Sometimes exploring any attractive nuisances on your land may create more questions than answers.

“An attractive nuisance can be present anywhere and may not always be readily identified,” said Nationwide Risk Management Director Doug Becker. “And those exposures of the attractive farm nuisances are rarely accounted for in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.”

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Connect the right team

This makes it critically important to connect with a farm insurance agent or risk management specialist who understands your land and any potential attractive nuisances on it. Also consider consulting an attorney who can address legal concerns about the specific attractive nuisances on your land.

“There are so many variables with attractive farm nuisances. An attorney can help you determine your level of liability,” Becker said. “And don’t rely on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy to protect you from that liability. Have a conversation with an informed, experienced insurance agent who can show you the most effective policy options. Having the right insurance in place can help you mitigate the risk you face from attractive farm nuisances.”

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1Source: A.M Best Market Share Report 2021.