Recently, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to take away the indemnity of liability historically granted to Iowa landowners (Sallee vs. Stewart). This means Iowa farm landowners are no longer protected from liability should a visitor to the farm be harmed. Two weeks ago, an amendment was proposed in the Iowa Senate to reinstate the indemnity for farmers. All Democrats in the state Senate voted against this amendment. This means Senator Steve Sodders voted against Iowa farmers and the protection of farm landowners.
How does this impact the average Iowa citizen? It means there will be no more going to a farm to hunt mushrooms or enjoy a leisurely walk in the Iowa springtime. It means children will not be allowed to visit a farm for school field trips. There will be no more deer or pheasant hunting on a friend's farm. It means those who want to visit a local farm to take pictures will no longer be given access to the farm. There will be no more snowmobiling through farm fields. Unless you own it or are being hired to work on the premises, no one will be allowed to enjoy Iowa's farmlands.
My husband and I enjoy having visitors to our farm. We enjoy showing children how to feed the cows ears of corn from your hand, educating those without a farm background regarding where their food comes from and how agriculture is changing in modern times. We are saddened that we must now deny access to our farm. We regret that school children will no longer be able to visit area farms to learn about growing vegetables, producing milk or raising hogs or cattle. The liability risk is too great for us and farmers across our state to allow visitors to our farms.
We are asking that members of our community contact Senator Sodders immediately and tell him you want the legislature to act to protect Iowa farmers. The Supreme Court stated that the only way protection could be granted to farmers would be through legislative action. When the opportunity arose to do this, Senator Sodders said "NO." It is time for the community to tell Senator Sodders in a loud voice that he must represent his community and act to protect farm landowners.