July 1st, 2015
Though many urbanites take for granted the food on their dinner plate, the government realizes the importance of farming and food production systems. While it’s becoming more difficult for many farms to produce enough income to keep food production flowing, numerous subsidy programs have popped up to help farmers meet the rising costs of land, wages, technologies, livestock, crops, and the ever-increasing cost of living in Canada. Although Canadian subsides are often smaller than many other developed countries, they are still an important resource for farmers.
Keeping on top of what subsidies a farmer is eligible for has now become an essential part of managing a sustainable farm. Whether you are a crop farmer or a meat or milk farmer, here are a few programs that you should be aware of that could help you to manage the costs associated with running a farm.
Having a farm, like most independent businesses, does not guarantee the same income every year. Crops depend on weather conditions, livestock can become sick, and equipment or facilities can be damaged. Any of these could be disastrous for the bottom line profitability of a farm.
The AgriInvest program aims to alleviate the worry of year to year variability to profits by helping a farm to save money for unforeseen problems. When investing the Allowable Net Sales into an account, you may be eligible to receive matching funds from provincial or federal governments, up to a limit of $15,000. This could go a long way towards mitigating the impact of a disastrous growing season. Click here to check out INAC’s bulletin for this program.
The Agristability program exists as another aid to offset a bad profit year for farmers. You may be eligible for this support if your margin falls below 70% of your reference margin (your average margin of three of the past five years).
This program is supported by the federal government in some provinces. Some provinces, such as Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, fund this program at the provincial level. Visit the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website for information on this program relevant to your province
Property Tax Exemptions
Depending on the province that your farm is in, there are likely exemptions to property tax that will allow your farm to pay a reduced rate. For example, Ontario has an opportunity called the Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program.
This program allows Ontario farmers to save some money when it comes to property tax time. Farms are typically taxed at the usual residential rate but under this program, the farmland that you own that doesn’t include the farm residence or 1 acre of surrounding land is taxed at 25% of the residential rate.
These are some of the larger programs that are available to farmers in all provinces but be aware that there are likely other grants, subsidies, and tax break programs that are specific to your province. Many grant and subsidy programs go unused simply because farmers are not aware of them. Do a little research and discover what resources are available to you to make sure your farm is a successful investment!