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Ontario producers unsure of ad hoc committee
Ontario producers unsure of ad hoc committee

The committee is charged with finding financial assistance for new and young farmers in Prince Edward County

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Prince Edward County growers are doubtful a new ad hoc committee can support new and young farmers financially in times of high farmland prices.

“There’s a lot of skepticism on my part that this committee will amount to anything,” Lloyd Crowe, a grain farmer from Prince Edward County, told Farms.com today.

The value of Class 1 farmland in Ontario jumped from $3,425 per acre in 2012 to about $7,825 per acre in 2016, according to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

Those MPAC assessments caused farmland taxes across the Prince Edward region to rise by about 110 per cent in 2016, which put a lot of financial stress on younger producers.

“In some cases, younger farmers indicated that their current taxes represent 8 to 10 per cent of what they make,” Crowe said.

Crowe and other local farmers have asked the County to consider reducing the current tax increase to around 60 per cent.

Council rejected the motion nine votes to six and tabled the ad hoc committee idea instead.

“We were more than happy to pay the 60 per cent increase,” he said. “If the councillors were serious about helping farmers, they could’ve made the decision (on March 13) to reduce the tax rate.

 “A healthy and vibrant agriculture sector in Prince Edward County must include young farmers and producers,” Robert Quaiff, Mayor of Prince Edward County, said in a March 28 statement. The committee’s goal is to implement new initiatives by the end of the year, he added.

Municipal staff will present more information on the ad hoc committee at a meeting on Apr. 12. The public cam provide comments and feedback afterwards.

Farms.com has reached out to Prince Edward County for comment on the taxes and ad hoc committee.