Agricultural Societies

County fairgrounds and operations include a number of unique risks that MCIT can help members learn to manage.

County Fairs and Other Agricultural Society Events Require Specific Loss Control and Risk Management Solutions

County fairs are an integral part of Minnesota culture, but for fairs to be a positive force in the community, they need to be safe. The public puts its trust in an agricultural society (a.k.a. fair board) to ensure that they have a positive experience when attending the fair and other events at the fairgrounds.

Producing a county fair is a large responsibility that includes maintaining a safe environment for workers, volunteers, vendors and attendees, as well as protecting fair resources. The “Agricultural Societies Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide” provides information and recommendations to help recognize and reduce risks and hazards associated with fair operations and protect such organizations from liability and loss.

Cover image of Agricultural Society Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide shows various scenes from around a county fairAgricultural Society Loss Prevention Best Practices Guide Addresses 3 General Areas

This guide is designed to help agricultural societies make informed decisions about how to protect their organizations, property, fairgoers and users of the facilities. The book is divided into three general areas of concern:

  1. Governance concerns (e.g., Open Meeting Law compliance and safeguarding private information), Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and immunity defenses related to fairgrounds (Chapters 1-3): This guide presumes that agricultural societies are formed under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 38, which qualifies them as municipalities subject to certain laws, protections and regulations. Agricultural societies must adhere to various laws protecting people’s rights and for conducting its business in the open, as well as having potential immunities apply to their operations. These chapters discuss pertinent details for fair operations relative to these laws.
  2. Risk management (Chapters 4-12): From working with volunteers, vendors and contractors, these topics cover a range of issues that could potentially be open to risk exposure and offer recommendations to limit or manage the exposures.
  3. Safety recommendations (Chapters 13-32): Common activities and structures at fairgrounds are discussed. Topics covered target specific equipment, work processes and policies or programs that should be in place as part of an overall safety program. Best practices are outlined to help educate staff and volunteers to reduce those exposures.

Several check lists are provided, as well. These can be used to determine quickly how well the organization is complying with laws and safety programs, as well as can identify safety hazards and allow for action items to be developed to remedy the identified exposures.


More Resources, Tools for Agricultural Societies

  • Members are encouraged to contact their MCIT risk management and loss control consultants when they have questions regarding risk management and safety for their operations.
  • Members should work with their legal counsel when setting up policies and procedures to ensure the agricultural society is in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws.
  • The Resource Library includes a number of articles related to risk management, such as contracts, volunteers and coverage; workplace safety and other concerns related to agricultural society activities.
  • The Step Wisely program includes valuable tools to help prevent slip, trip and fall accidentsStep Wisely logo
  • Through MCIT, members have access to other services that may be beneficial to agricultural society operations, such as fire protection assessments and specialized coverage placement.
  • The Employee Assistance Program provides no-cost, confidential counseling for MCIT member employees and their dependents for personal concerns.
  • All MCIT member organizations are members of the Minnesota Safety Council, giving them access to no-cost or reduced-fee services, including training classes and videos, consultation services and written educational resources.