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Support for young farmers focus of new committee

A new committee will examine ways the municipality can financially support young and new farmers who are negatively impacted by increasing farm land values.

“Council recognizes some farmers – especially those just starting out – face challenges due to the increase in assessed values of farm properties. The ad hoc committee will work quickly to identify tangible ways to address these issues,” said mayor Robert Quaiff.

Council decided, at their March 13 meeting, to create the committee, with the goal of implementing initiatives by the end of 2018. The committee is to include a variety of stakeholder groups tasked to study and examine ways to support young farmers, including specifically, a grant program.

Municipal staff are finalizing the committee’s draft terms of reference to be presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 12. The public, including members of the agricultural community, are welcome to offer comment and feedback at the meeting.

The idea emerged during council’s tax ratio deliberations. After holding a public meeting to receive feedback and inviting comments at several meetings, council voted in favour of keeping the tax ratio at 25 per cent of the residential tax ratio for 2018.

“When looking at setting the tax ratios for 2018, council had to make a tough decision,” said Quiaff. “We tried to strike a balance between fairness for all ratepayers and a desire to support and strengthen a key economic sector for our area.

Council determined the best approach was to maintain the farm tax ratio at 25 per cent while exploring other opportunities to provide focused support to our agricultural community.

“Maintaining the rural and historic character of Prince Edward County is a top priority for the municipality,” said Quiaff. “The County is committed to promoting and supporting traditional agriculture, value-added agriculture and agri-tourism. Some examples already under way to support local farmers include:
– Exemption of development charges on traditional farm structures
– Promotion and marketing of agri-tourism and value-added agricultural products
– Active workforce development and matching for farm labour through the Prince Edward County Job Fair and other initiatives
– Participation in regional agri-asset inventory with Ontario East Economic Development Commission.

Details about offering input to the ad hoc committee will be posted on The County’s website.

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    Shortly after the Farm Tax Ratio debate, I was interviewed by the Globe and Mail (so was John Thompson) I invite you all to read this article(link below) and to pay special attention to the actual dollar figures that are mentioned. I asked on several occasions for them to stop talking percentages and to talk dollars. Now we know why this didn’t happen – talk about a mountain out of a mole hill!

  2. hockeynan says:

    Council gave the anti wind turbine people money.Why not farmers

  3. Susan says:

    You can’t as a municipality provide relief to one group and not others deserving.

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    Many residential taxpayers couldn’t afford the suddenly large increase that they experienced either. Just because their property is worth more didn’t mean they could afford living there. If you recall, residential properties got hit very hard by MPAC about ten years ago – where was the concern for those people? Ask any real estate person who was here back at that time – a very large number of people put their homes up for sale because of MPAC – particularly waterfront homeowners. I have stated publicly that I respect the work that farmers do – but I do not respect anyone trying to manipulate the public, nor our council by claiming hardship and the lack of fairness shown to them by MPAC – as if they were the only ones! Many other taxpayers in our community have been paying increased taxes for at least ten years because of MPAC! It is not being anti farmer by telling them to pay their own taxes like we all have to do,

  5. Chuck says:

    Snowman;I don’t think many if any are anti farmer. Just not fussy on taking on their tax bill.

  6. Gary says:

    How did the Adhoc committee work out for the urban water users? Chuckle and pay!

  7. Snowman says:

    Save your fingers anti farm group. This is going no where. Staff is going to bury this committee until Labour Day. Then get too busy with election prep. This one will be up to the next council. Watch and see.

  8. ADJ says:

    I don’t know what you would call a “young home buyer” but seems to me that most younger families are not necessarily choosing to buy here locally because their job is 40- 50 miles away.Seems pretty simple…no work of my profession locally I’m not going to buy a more costly home here and then have to commute everyday to Quinte West, Kingston, even Belleville. This is a retirement community based on locals who do find it difficult to maintain a house with all the extra expenses mentioned. Then there are the retirees with a healthy company pension who make up the rest of the population.
    Just because a farmer is land rich does not mean that he is super wealthy. Much of his farm could be land-locked, inaccessible to road frontage and building lots.. I’m not siding with the farmers at all and I think their fight should be wit MPAC (losers!)first. But it’s apples and oranges,young home buyers and farmers cannot be viewed as the same.

  9. Chuck says:

    If they are in anyway considering reducing or removing taxes for young farmers then it better be extended to young home buyers. Home buyers are purchasing at market value while farmers are sitting on enormous land wealth.

  10. Fred says:

    What is Council thinking other than the next election? Where is the adhoc committee to assist young home buyers in this community? They want to assist those sitting on land wealth and leave the rest of young with no hope of home ownership. Where is Council’s vision?

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    I never said young farmers were debt free – but I did point out how they have several very substantial advantages over many other young people. They have a home, a decent job, and land wealth. Most of the County’s young people have to leave home for either a job or to advance their education – a very expensive education that takes them years to pay off – at the same time when they are working to afford a home and start a family. I’m all for helping those who truly need it, but I have never bought in to what I have heard from this Farm Tax Ratio debate. The numbers just didn’t hold up and neither did their logic. Frankly, I perceive this new “Committee” as a very unnecessary olive branch from council to the farming community. However, if they want to form it they should include other groups of County youth who also need help in getting started in life.

  12. Gary says:

    Well of course! To form a committee to support young farmers and exclude the whole rest of start of youth is plainly not just stupid but non representational on the part of Council. This is an election button to appease farmers who lost their lobbying to shift their taxes onto others,some who are far worse off!

  13. Susan says:

    Dennis is right. Many other’s are suffering and no assistance. How do “all young start ups” get a hand up besides young farmers who generally have backing. As for Ad hoc Committees give me a break! Water & Wastewater users got double rates to the highest in Canada from such a highly politically committee was formed!

  14. hockeynan says:

    Dennnis,how do you think these young farmers are debt free?For a young person to sat a dairy farm today would cost a few million.Do you think they have that cash in there back pocket.

  15. Dennis Fox says:

    Perhaps this new council committee can expand their target group-
    and include other young people needing help. Most of The County’s young people don’t have the opportunity to stay home on the family farm and work – instead they have to leave and find employment away from their home. These so called “young new farmers” own their own business and have a home on increasing land values. Frankly, I believe that Council could find others far more deserving of their time and of our tax dollars.

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