Monday, October 10, 2011

The More The Scarier

Farm tours, I'm talking about farm tours. Keith and I have always enjoyed showing folks our farm for all the reasons I talked about on yesterdays post but tours can be scary...scary in the eyes of the insurance carrier beholder that is.

When our farm products and offerings began to expand about three years ago we thought giving regular tours and charging for them would be easy enough way to pull in some more income.  Before moving forward I, the wet blanket of many an adventure, decided to ask our insurance agent about liability. I specifically wanted to know what would be covered under our home owners policy.

A friend of mine and her son who are at the top of my list for "Most Excellent Farm Visitors"

Basically, nothing would be covered.

Well, nothing would be covered if we CHARGED a fee for the tour because that would bump us into the world of "agri-tourism." Elevating ourselves to that height would require a separate and more expensive agri-tourism policy. Turns out once you charge for something you bear the brunt of liability.

 Facts are: tours take time and time spent doing tours is time taken away from other farm chores. Its hard for some folks, especially urban dwellers to understand the amount of work needed to tend a farm. Thus we ask folks to schedule a tour as we cannot always stop what we are doing to show people around.

So, instead we do not charge for tours but we tell folks that donations are happily accepted. We also happily accept purchases out of our farm store. In the last 5 years I can only think of one, maybe two (does family count?) groups who came for a tour and did not leave a donation. Probably because we didn't tell them one would be , once again, happily accepted.

Most folks are very pleased to contribute a small amount.

Our, oh OK, MY biggest concern is with the parents who bring the kids for a tour and take little responsibility for them. This is rare but even after I do my little dog and donkey show about electric fences (they hurt), animals in heat (they bite), tractors (no you may not turn it on and drive it) we still get folks who glare at me when I tell their children, politely; "Stop swinging the turkey around by its neck you little heathen !!" I meant to say "Heather", really I did.

But for the other 99.9% we are very willing to show them how we do things on this farm. We love telling the story of the nearly extinct Red Wattle hogs, the dairy cows that live 3-4 X's as long as feed lot cows, eggs that are laid in straw by hens they move freely in and out of the chicken house instead of living their entire short lives in a 2 foot square cage. So many wee ones have never seen farm animals up close let alone have the opportunity to actually touch and feed one. Their eyes light up, they giggle, they take pictures.

Their kids are pretty thrilled as well.


  1. Woman, I think I spit up my soda laughing about this! And how many kids ARE named "Heather," anyway???! :)

  2. I don't know why it is but when people take their kids somewhere it's like suddenly they disown them. They are someone else's problem. And boy, are they ever.

  3. It's still frightening how many inner-city children have no idea where an egg, their milk, or a potato come from.

  4. Zan, Oh how I love to hear about one of my "earthy" freinds drinking soda. But knowing you it was probably Sassafras Soda you concocted on your roof top :)

    MBJ Don't you think it is because young parents today might be more worried about how THEY look to someone and discipling their kids in public scares them . My dad however would wack us up side the head if we were misbehaving regardless of whether we were in church or in the grocery store. Knowing he was not embarassed to get us back in line we behaved in his presence. Novel idea huh?

    Cro, truly it is shocking how many children spend 90% of the time INDOORS. Not only are they unaware of farms, they are being raised in controlled environments that limit their experiences to only things found on the digital device in their hands. Technology is a part of our farm life...but a small and reasonable part.

  5. Insurance companies are so risk averse, but the reality is that the risk of damage on guided tours is so negligible.

  6. Man, we are alike. I cannot stand it when people do not supervise their children! I have two grown daughters, one named "Heather" so this story really got me to chuckling, but I've seen so many people who simply do not care that their child is behaving inappropriately or unable to control themselves. So many excuses are made today by lazy parents. Lazy parents will surely have a fantastic surprise in store for them as those little uncontrolled minds get into bigger uncontrollable trouble later in life. At that time, those lazy parents will have nothing better to do than to sit around in misery as they watch their "kids" self-destruct as they whine about "What went wrong?" AUGH. Blah.

    And your info about the tourism hick-up with insurance is so important. That lazy parent with their kid's finger missing will be the first capitalize upon the issue. I owned a Litigation Support company for years in Houston and learned that signage, warnings, disclosures, or any kind of acknowledgement in writing...such as the bus tour passing around quickly to have signed and used as a "ticket" is critical because fair-warning is a biggie. However, even private property can bring such hazards, we're told that we need signage on our personal property in the country because of bluffs, etc.,

    Anyway, I'm one of those people who speaks up in public, if a snotty nosed kid is running to my table and touching everything, I do not smile politely, I put on my teacher face and say, "You need to go sit down, right now young man." This is rarely needed, but I'm not afraid to pull out my Momma mode. And if the parent doesn't like it, too darn bad...they probably need to be told to go sit down and behave as well. haha.

    As for your sign, I think I will use it on our land. Love it.

  7. The neighbor lady once brought over her kids with their kids. My warning about the electric fence fell on deaf ears. All of them touched it, some more than once. Their "tour" ended with them all crying. At first I felt bad, but after they left my kids and I had a good chuckle at the "city slickers". Wish I had had my camera, it was quite funny, err I mean sad.

  8. This is my first time visiting and it won't be my last. Thank you for a good laugh. I really needed something to make me smile. It's my pet peeve. Children need to be attended, but what makes me more irritated is parents who yell at their children after someone else points out their indiscretion. I feel they should have been watching them in the first place.