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Ontario abandons proposal to sever farmland lots in response to farmer opposition

TORONTO - Ontario has backed off a housing proposal that farmers say would have had a “catastrophic” impact on farmland and livestock operations.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark proposed a series of regulations along with a bill that would allow for more housing to be built beyond urban boundaries and in rural areas, including allowing up to three new lots on parcels of farmland.

But more than a dozen farming organizations, including the National Farmers Union — Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, issued a joint letter urging the government to abandon the proposal.

Those changes would hamper growth of livestock farming, fragment the agricultural land base, and risk inflating farmland prices, shutting out prospective new farmers, they said.

Premier Doug Ford met late last week with farmers, and the government has decided not to proceed with the lot severance proposal, Clark wrote in a letter to the OFA

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