Farm animal liability signs available

Brownwood Bulletin
Scott Anderson

Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 365, which expanded liability protection to farmers and ranchers on their own property under the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (FALA). Those changes go into effect on Sept. 1 and require additional steps be taken by farm animal owners.

Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) actively supported the legislation to make improvements to the act.

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. 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. 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.

It is recommended the language should be added to any contracts for lessees, employees or independent contractors.

If there are any written contracts with folks about the animals, this disclaimer needs to be included in that contract to make it effective.

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.

TFB now offers liability signs that meet the language requirements under FALA. For Texas Farm Bureau members.

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 available for $12, plus tax and shipping. They are 11 in. x 14 in. and made of a metal composite material.

Signs may be purchased online through the TFB Store at 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.

Signs can also be purchased through your county Farm Bureau office.

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 texasfarmbureau.org/memberbenefits.

If you are not a Texas Farm Bureau member the signs are now available at Starr Sales, 1511 Driscol, Brownwood, Texas for $17.50 each.

Contact Beck at rbeck@txfb.org for questions regarding FALA. For assistance in purchasing the signs, contact TFB Member Benefits Marketing Coordinator Whitney Richter at wrichter@txfb.org or 254.751.2644.

Texas hunting, fishing licenses for 2021-22 now on sale

With another hunting season approaching, it’s time to purchase 2021-22 annual Texas hunting and fishing licenses.

Current year licenses, except the Year-from-Purchase-All-Water-Fishing Package, will expire Aug. 31, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

The annual sale of more than 2.7 million hunting and fishing licenses in Texas directly fund conservation efforts and recreational opportunities. Some of the projects funded by licenses sales include wildlife management, habitat restoration, fish stocking, public hunting leases, river fishing access and Texas Game Wardens.

Hunters and anglers can purchase a variety of license combinations and packages online through the TPWD website, by phone at 1.800.895.4248 or in person at more than 1,800 retailers across the state. If you are planning to purchase a license from TPWD’s Austin headquarters, an advance appointment is required. Call 1.800.262.8755 to schedule an appointment.

Repeat license buyers can use an expedited checkout process to speed up re-purchasing the same license bought in recent years.

Customers can access past and current licenses in several ways: (1) an electronic photo of one’s license, (2) an emailed receipt of your purchase; (3) one’s account in the online license sales system; (4) via License Lookup in the Outdoor Annual app or in the My Texas Hunt Harvest app.

Hunters and anglers must still have a physical license for any activities requiring tags.

Hunting and fishing regulations for the 2021-22 season are available online at outdoorannual.com, on the Outdoor Annual mobile app or in the printed Outdoor Annual booklet. The mobile app is free and allows hunters and anglers to access regulations, even without internet connectivity. Other features of the app include location-based functionalities, such as hunting seasons and regulations by location, where to fish and more.

Printed copies of the Outdoor Annual can be picked up at license retailers when customers purchase their license or at TPWD offices Additionally, the Outdoor Annual website offers the option to download and print all or select sections of the Outdoor Annual.

The My Texas Hunt Harvest app enables electronic submission of mandatory harvest reports including alligator gar harvest reporting. Hunters are also able to complete on-site registration for many TPWD public hunting lands via the app. Hunters can hunt on more than one million acres of public land with the purchase of an Annual Public Hunting Permit.

When purchasing a license, hunters and anglers can also choose to enter a number of drawings, including an entry in the Lifetime License Drawing. Three winners will receive a Lifetime Super Combo License and never need to buy a Texas hunting or fishing license again. Entries are $5 each and can be purchased online, by phone or at any license retailer. The first entry deadline is Sept. 30.

When buying a license, hunters and anglers can add a donation of $1, $5, $10 or $20 to support the non-profit Hunters for the Hungry or the Fund for Veterans Assistance.