Monday, August 10, 2020

Supporting Small Farms







Did you know that Saanich has almost 400 properties that have farm status? Many of our local farms are small, family-run operations that are favourite suppliers of fresh eggs, fruits, vegetables and flowers for so many of us in Saanich South. Each of our local farms plays a key role in creating a strong and resilient food system – as does our government.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for some B.C. farm operations, including smaller-scale farms that depend on roadside stands, farm markets and public interaction for sales revenue. That’s why the Government of British Columbia announced this week that they are waiving minimum income requirements for existing B.C. farm operations, allowing them to maintain their current property tax farm status for 2021.

Our government is committed to helping farmers farm. It's been a difficult year for many people, and this change is just one more example of how we are recognizing the challenges and supporting farmers. Without this action, a number of properties would have been in jeopardy of losing farm status for the 2021 tax year, significantly increasing the property tax burden on those farmers and farm families.

In order to be classified as a farm in British Columbia, properties must meet certain criteria, including generating a minimum amount of gross income from a qualifying agriculture use based on the size of the parcel of land. This minimum income requirement must be met every two years and there must be some income generated every year. BC Assessment sends out self-reporting income questionnaires and conducts intermittent inspections to determine whether a property should maintain its farm status for the upcoming tax year.

This approach aligns with the Province's COVID-19 Action Plan to support businesses through the pandemic, as well as government's commitment to encourage agricultural production.
We know that robust and healthy farm operations will play an important role as we restart our economy. We know that the people in Saanich look to their local farmers to put healthy food on their tables.

Thanks for making an extra effort to support our farmers! Buying local is a delicious way to support our economy!


Learn More:

  • The Ministry of Agriculture has additional COVID-19 response and restart information for the B.C. agriculture and seafood sector available HERE.  
  • For further information on farm class assessment, visit BC Assessment HERE.