Hayrides are a popular activity for agritourism operations and a marketing attraction for pick-your-own farms. While the farmer, their family, and experienced employees are familiar with the hazards that come along with being around farm equipment, the general public is not. With proper planning and management, using a tractor and wagon to transport guests can be a safe activity.
Accidents are most likely to be avoided:
- with adequate supervision and training of employees;
- by maintaining site and crowd control;
- by operating equipment properly.
Farm inspection and employee training preparation steps are of key importance to keeping visitors as safe as possible when they come to the farm. We have developed three online educational tools to assist with preventing or minimizing hayride accident risks.
- Managing Risk on Your Agritourism Farm: Hay Ride Safety. This 6:49 min. video can be shown to your farm employees. It features providing safe transport on the farm: equipment preparation, route selection and inspection, training employees in equipment operation and communication, and crowd control.
- Agritourism: Keeping Passengers Safe on Hay Rides. This fact sheet overview for managers explains practices and precautions for safe hay ride operation. It includes inspection and maintenance of tractors and wagons, tractor operation, crowd control, loading and unloading passengers, supervision during the hayride, and communication.
- Agritourism – General Farm Safety Assessment Checklist. This checklist can be provided to farm employees and is useful to operators when doing self-assessments of their farms.
In our experience, following the guidance found within these three tools has assisted agritourism farmers in improving their hayride safety. Additional educational and management information for farmers and ag educators can be found on:
Extension Training for Agritourism Development