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COURT RULING: Changing Farmer’s Liability

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A tradition for Iowa kids could soon become a thing of the past.

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that in some cases farmers can be held liable if someone is injured on their land.  That means the farmer could be held responsible for medical bills if a child on a field trip gets hurt.

The decision stems from an accident during a farm tour in Fayette County. And without a legislative reversal, farmers warn they will lock their gates to visitors and outdoor enthusiasts.

Farmers say they are surprised and disappointed by the decision to reverse a long-time policy.

Sixth generation farmer Dennis Campbell says it could affect events he holds on his land.

“Everybody that comes out and spends some time on the farm really appreciates the opportunity to do this with us,” Campbell explains. “A lot of kids today think their food comes from the grocery store.”

He says he may start rethinking the activities he offers.

“All those things become in jeopardy, and we just want to get some clarity.”

Some lawmakers are already working on an amendment to try and restore farmers’ liability protections.

Thanks to our sister station WQAD for this story.

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