Liability Exposures and Insurance Coverage for 4-H and FFA

Every year, the second half of summer and the beginning of fall is the Community Fair season. Sometimes, it is the county-wide fair and in other areas, there are individual community fairs or farm shows. 4-H and FFA and participation in these fairs are great opportunities for educational experiences to learn the many different aspects of animal husbandry, public relations, and economics.

One area that is often overlooked, and perhaps not even considered, is the liability exposure that is created by owning and raising farm animals as your child’s project. Let’s consider the multiple areas of exposure that are inherent with the 4-H and FFA projects.

First, there is the project and the accompanying financial investment, liability exposure during the raising and showing seasons, and transportation risks moving your projects to and from shows. Second, is where you can find protection for your investment. Here is what to know about liability exposures and insurance coverage for 4-H and FFA:

3 Main Risks Related to 4-H and FFA

When it comes to liability exposures for 4-H and FFA projects, there are a few main risks involved:

1. Financial Loss of Show Stock Investment

To begin, the project animal/s must be purchased and raised. Depending on the species, it may be a single animal, or it may be two or more that are part of the project. Typically, show stock demand a higher price than general market stock. The investment can be quite significant just to purchase the 4-H or FFA project animal.

The risks that then accompany the animal can be that of health and/or injury. These situations are addressed in different ways, if they can be addressed at all. From an injury standpoint, insurance can provide financial compensation if the injury results in the death of the animal.

For example, if the animal dies from a fire, being struck by lightning, being hit by a car or truck, there can be compensation for its value if it is scheduled properly on an insurance policy. This requires the proper type of policy to provide this coverage.

2. Damage/Injury the Livestock Causes

Second, once the animal is purchased and being raised, trained, and groomed, you have ownership, and you are responsible for any-and-all damages the animal may cause. During the growing period, if the steer, dairy beef, lamb, hog, etc. would escape and end up on the road and cause an accident, you most likely would be responsible for the damage caused to the other party’s vehicle.

You could also be responsible for property damage if the livestock damages a premises. There is also a liability risk when you are at the show. The general public surrounds your animal to pet it. They “get close with their little ones” for that perfect picture they will post on social media! Let your imagination bring to mind the potential injuries that may occur.

3. Risks Related to Transporting Livestock

The third area to consider is that of hauling the livestock projects to the fair. If you have your own truck and trailer, and trailer insurance, your risk is reduced. If you borrow your neighbor’s truck and trailer, injury to the livestock due to a road accident would fall on you as the owner of the livestock.

If you have insurance on the animal and the animal dies, you could have a claim for the value of the livestock. If your neighbor hauls the stock to the fair in his truck and trailer and has an accident and your stock is destroyed, the responsibility may likely fall on him and any coverage you have may not pay for the loss.

3 Main Insurance Coverages for 4-H and FFA

When it comes to liability exposures and insurance coverage for 4-H and FFA, each situation will be a little different and may require additional endorsements depending on specific situations. This is why talking to an insurance agent about your specific situation is so important to make sure you are fully covered. In general, here are some of the main coverages to consider for 4-H and FFA projects:

1. Agricultural Insurance That Covers Farm Personal Property

With regard to the animal itself, a policy is needed that will respond to that property loss. A standard homeowner policy will not protect you for the loss of that animal as this type of policy does not cover “farm personal property.”

An agricultural policy would provide the best protection for the lost financial value of the livestock. This may be challenging to find if you have limited value in the livestock as you won’t qualify for livestock risk protection and a mortality policy could be hard to place.

2. A Policy That Provides Farm/Agricultural Liability

Relating to the liability risk, this is the area that contains the most unknowns. You cannot put a definitive value on a claim until after the event has occurred. The best possible option would be to have a policy that can provide you with farm/agricultural liability coupled with your personal liability.

A farmowners insurance policy would be the most comprehensive option to provide this protection. Your standard homeowner policy would not provide you with the level of protection you need.

3. Coverage for However You Haul Your Show Animals

Hauling your show animals may seem like a minor exposure. But, the potential is there for a claim from several different fronts. Hauling your entries in your truck and trailer eliminates more areas of uncovered risk.

Loaning your truck and trailer for someone else to use exposes you, the truck owner, to the most uncontrolled risk. If that driver has an accident with your truck, your auto policy is what responds to the injury and damages to the other party. If you hire someone to haul your stock, that person needs to understand how they may be held responsible in the event of a loss to the livestock.

Make Sure You Are Fully Covered for 4-H and FFA Projects

When it comes to liability exposures and insurance coverage for 4-H and FFA, there are many things to keep in mind as you prepare for and then head into show season. Do not let an uncovered misfortune ruin the excitement and fun of the summer and fall show season.

Call us at Ruhl Insurance, toll-free at 888-218-3422, or direct at 717-665-2283. You may also email us at One of our professional staff will be happy to discuss your unique situation.

Disclaimer: Information and claims presented in this content are meant for informative, illustrative purposes and should not be considered legally binding.