Editor: Shannon Cottongame
September 1, 2021
Amendments to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (FALA) go into effect September 1 and require additional steps be taken by farm animal owners.
FALA is a statute that offers limited liability for routine and customary activities on a farm, handling and managing farm animals and ranching activities.
“The act is a protection for folks who have livestock or animals that are unpredictable by nature,” Regan Beck, Texas Farm Bureau director of Government Affairs, said. “If somebody gets hurt around these animals, this act helps protect the people who own them—the farmer or rancher—from liability to people who are injured by farm animals on their property.”
The meaning of “farm animal activity” now includes owning, raising, transporting or pasturing a farm animal. The bill adds language to ensure it is applied to working farms and ranches, as well as farm and ranch hands.
The statute requires farm animal professionals, farm and ranch owners and lessees to post and maintain a sign on the premises with the new statutory language. The sign must be in a clearly visible location on or near the stable, corral or arena where the farm animal activities are conducted.
“Under these changes to protect themselves, farmers and ranchers need to actually post a sign that shows that they are not liable for these injuries. The sign needs to be in a prominent place, it’s clearly seen, wherever the activities may be taking place,” Beck said. “If you have some stables or corral or wherever you’re actually working with these animals, the sign needs to be there and needs to be visible.”
The language should be added to any contracts for lessees, employees or independent contractors, Beck noted.
“If there are any written contracts with folks about the animals, this disclaimer needs to be included in that contract to make it effective,” he said.
The legislation is a major win for Texas farmers and ranchers.
“This legislation is important because a lot of farmers and ranchers thought they had protections before, but they didn’t,” Beck said. “Farm Bureau had increasing protection for farmers and ranchers as a priority issue this legislative session. We supported HB 365 in the Legislature and worked with the bill author, Rep. Andrew Murr, to make sure this bill was passed.”
TFB now offers liability signs that meet the language requirements under FALA.
The statutory language reads “Warning: Under Texas Law (Chapter 87, Civil Practice and Remedies Code), a farm animal professional or farm owner or lessee is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in farm animal activities, including an employee or independent contractor, resulting from the inherent risks of farm animal activities.”
The signs are 11 in. x 14 in. and made of a metal composite material.
Signs may be purchased online through the TFB Store at https://texasfarmbureau.org/store. After clicking on the “member” link, you will be prompted to enter your MyTFB account information to proceed. If you don’t have an account, you can create one by clicking on the “Create Account” link. Cost of the signs through online purchase is $12 each plus tax and shipping.
Signs can also be purchased at the Hill County Farm Bureau office. The signs are $13 each if purchased at the office. Hill County Farm Bureau is located at 221 E. Franklin in Hillsboro. Or call 254-582-8448 for more information.
TFB also has custom gate signs, private property protection signs and agritourism warning signs available. For more information on these member benefits and others, visit texasfarmbu reau.org/memberbenefits.