Standing policy: Property
The OFVGA believes in the protection of private property and strongly supports charging individuals convicted of stealing, malicious damage, and other activities that affect farm property.
The OFVGA is a strong proponent of producers’ rights to protect farm property from damage by wildlife (deer) and fowl (Canada Geese).
Ag land initiatives (08-15)
WHEREAS, agricultural lands in Ontario have similar land use restrictions as have been imposed on the Greenbelt through legislation and,
WHEREAS, the Greenbelt Foundation funds agricultural initiatives to nurture the viability of the primary agricultural activities within the Greenbelt,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that agriculture lands throughout Ontario be eligible for the same level of support as has been designated to the Greenbelt
Agricultural classification for horticultural waste management (2012-04)
WHEREAS, greenhouse production has always been deemed an agricultural activity; and
WHEREAS the greenhouse sector has been working for the past two years in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and OMAFRA to develop a strategy that both protects Ontario’s natural resources and supports continued growth of the greenhouse vegetable sector; and
WHEREAS the MOE has commenced regulating greenhouse vegetable producers utilizing what has been an industrial process requiring Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA’s) for various processes involved in the management of storm water and nutrient effluent; and
WHEREAS the MOE has similarly started requiring ECA’s from field vegetable producers for managing vegetable wash water; and
WHEREAS applying for and maintaining an ECA is a costly, time-consuming process which in MOE’s plan is essentially a prerequisite to production that will be required whether or not there are environmental management problems on a farm operation; and
WHEREAS resources expended on an ECA are resources that are not available to directly carry out any necessary environmental improvements on a farm, since approvals in and of themselves do not address environmental remediation; and
WHEREAS ECA’s are not required as a prerequisite for any other agricultural production,
THEREFORE be it resolved the OF&VGA lobby the Ontario Government even if it requires outside resources, to ensure that environmental regulation of the horticulture sector take place in a manner that respects the unique role that agriculture plays in the natural environment, and which is consistent with the regulatory processes utilized in other sectors of Ontario agriculture.
Deer damage compensation (02-01)
WHEREAS wildlife population seem to be out of control, and
WHEREAS two years cropping of apples are lost due to browsing by wildlife.
THEREFORE be it resolved that OFVGA request the Government of Ontario to develop a plan of compensation to fruit and vegetable growers for their losses due to deer browsing and other wildlife damage.
Engergy issues (LR2009-06)
WHEREAS; the Provincial Government has allegedly moved into a direction looking at alternative energy sources, such as ethanol, wind, solar – even conservation; and
WHEREAS; this Provincial Government has stated publicly, through the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that it will continue to seek movement away from fossil fuels, especially coal, in favour of better, environmentally-friendly, renewable alternatives for electricity production; and
WHEREAS the construction of natural gas powered peaker plants, some single cycle with energy efficiency rates in the mid-20 percentile, others constructed as combined cycle with slightly higher efficiency rates, but all being leaders in greenhouse gas emissions, is a detriment to Ontario farmers fight to clean up our environment and reduce our own carbon footprint through the Buy Local programs throughout the province.
WHEREAS these facilities, in addition to causing devastating environmental impacts relating to climate change, spew toxic particulate matter that are the leading causes of lung diseases and cancer.
AND WHEREAS these facilities, under the mandate of the Ontario Power Authority [OPA] (and the Ministry of Energy), are beginning to be constructed throughout Ontario’s countryside and in farm areas, such as North Dumfries township, outside Kingston, in locations in Northern Ontario, and in the Holland Marsh;
THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA, in conjunction with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, lobby for a cease and desist order from the Ministry of Energy on behalf of farmers throughout the province impacted by the arbitrary decisions of a biased “independent” panel, run by the OPA, until such time as environmental studies (on both muck and mineral soils), global research (regarding peaker facilities), and a better understanding of the potentially devastating destruction that can be rendered upon prime agricultural land can be better understood; and
AND BE IT FURTHER resolved that OFVGA petition that all facilities – present and future – be put on hold until the Ministry of Energy undergoes a series of better designed public consultation processes that will enable comments to be heard in time for appropriate decisions to be rendered; that the needs of all of society, including the right to access of safe, healthy food is ensured; and that society – including agriculture – benefits from alternative energy resources.
Environmental Farm Plan (2011-02)
WHEREAS the response to the Environmental Farm Plan illustrates the environmental commitment of farmers across Ontario and their willingness to engage in projects that reduce environmental risk
WHEREAS almost 12,000 farm businesses completed "Action Plans" through the Environmental Farm Plan 3rd Edition Workbook and were deemed appropriate.
WHEREAS in less than one week of opening the door to project applications for 2010 cropping year, all available project budget funds were used up.
THEREFORE be it resolved that OFVGA lobby government for additional funding for environmental improvement projects for Ontario farmers.
Farm storage classification (03-06)
WHEREAS Mr. Marcel Beaubien, MPP, has recently submitted his Property Assessment and Classification Review to the Minister of Finance, and
WHEREAS the report recommends that storage facilities located on off-farm property and owned by farmers that is used exclusively for their own produce should be included in the “residential property class” and if characterized as a “value-retention activity” it should be included in the “commercial property class”, and
WHEREAS it has been established that primary agricultural producers do not pay the education portion of taxes on their out-buildings, and the use of the building remains the same, whether on-farm or off-farm.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA request the Minister of Finance to have the Assessment Act recognize that apple storages are merely an extension of the farm, are for farm purposes, and as such, must fall under the “farm property class”.
NOTE: “value-retention activity” – this term is used to refer to activities which move a step beyond primary agricultural production to perform some processing of the farm product without changing the nature of the product and which are necessary to preserve farm products for market (for example: cleaning, sorting, and storage).
Funding support required for “On-farm food safety" and “nutrient and water management" (03-08)
WHEREAS Ontario’s agricultural producers are coming under severe pressure to meet government “On-Farm Food Safety” and “Nutrient and Water Management” standards, and
WHEREAS these improvements are necessary and for the public good, and
WHEREAS there are currently no cost-shared programs available to producers for this purpose.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OFVGA and CHC immediately solicit OMAF and/or AAFC to introduce programs, which would provide 75% cost-shared funding to producers to make required improvements to meet “On-Farm Food Safety” and “Nutrient and Water Management” standards.
Further addressing grower concerns regarding Greenbelt expansions (LR2009-13)
WHEREAS there are additional concerns regarding farmland property devaluations including but not limited to Greenbelt expansion and municipal farmland preservation for perpetuity.
THEREFORE be it resolved that the property section add these concerns regarding farmland devaluation to be in need of compensation before farmland is so designated
GST / HST classification (00-03)
WHEREAS the majority of agriculture equipment is 0 rated for GST/HST purposes and
WHEREAS a number of major comparable equipment inputs in the horticultural industry are not 0 rated for GST/HST
THERFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby Revenue Canada to include amendments to GST/HST that include major horticultural equipment expenses in the 0 rated provision of the Excise Tax Act
Irrigation clean water act (08-16)
WHEREAS, the Clean Water Act has far reaching implications for future water use and restriction and,
WHEREAS, the declaration of a level three (3) low water response dictates mandatory water restrictions and,
WHEREAS, the only essential water uses listed are:
for human consumption and
for human was disposal,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the irrigation of food crops be moved from important to essential in the Clean Water Act.
Land use - agricultural preserve (03-09)
WHEREAS there has been progressively increasing pressures to establish an Agricultural Land Preserve in the Niagara Peninsula, and
WHEREAS changes to land use legislation would affect significant numbers of horticultural producers across Ontario.
THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA adopt the position that if a government or governmental agency implements a policy initiative for restrictive covenants or agricultural preserves, then the affected landowners must be fairly and reasonably compensated for the interest in the property given up.
NMP resources and funding (01-06)
WHEREAS the Province of Ontario through legislation may expand the need for Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) for horticulture that includes nutrients from commercial fertilizers, and
WHEREAS the OMAFRA computer program NMAN was designed for livestock namure management, and
WHEREAS there is no research being done on horticulture crops in regards to NMP’s and crop uptake of nutrients,
THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Province of Ontario for additional research funding and personal for horticulture in order to provide proper documentation and information for an OMAFRA based NMP computer program for horticulture
Permit to take water charges (05-05)
WHEREAS water used for agricultural irrigation is a non-consumptive use of water and
WHEREAS no public infrastructure is involved in transportation of irrigation water in Ontario
THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA take forth the message that no fee(s) should be associated with the Permit to Take Water for agricultural use
Property assessments (99-02)
WHEREAS the Ministry of Finance, through the Owen Sound assessment office, has identified apple storage operating under a corporate structure, and charging a rental fee, as being in a Commercial or Industrial class, and
WHEREAS this policy appears to be inconsistent between corporations, and
WHEREAS this method of taxation may also impact many other companies storing various agricultural commodities throughout Ontario,
THEREFORE be it resolved that the OFVGA petition the Ministry of Finance and OMAFRA to recognize the act of storing perishable agricultural commodities, by a farmer, as an integral aspect of the farming operation, and
BE IT FURTHER resolved that buildings storing such commodities remain in the Farm class, for taxation purposes, regardless of type of ownership.
Property tax increases (LR2013-15)
WHEREAS farmers are facing dramatic property tax increases,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that OFVGA work to minimize property taxes for farmers
Water permits (LR2009-08)
WHEREAS; there appears to be great confusion over water taking permits in Ontario; and
WHEREAS; the OFVGA has employed a new water expert – surface only – under a cost-recovery program where farmers will pay both the association and the government for a process that is confusing, demeaning, and wasteful at the best of times; and
WHEREAS; the concept of clean water and the cost of such a program appears to have been squarely placed upon the backs of farmers;
AND WHEREAS; society continues to bear none of these costs of either clean-up or infrastructure;
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the OFVGA, despite the hiring of a water expert to help with the ridiculously complicated process, lobby the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs for more clearly defined rights to water for farmers throughout Ontario and reduce the levels of bureaucracy that exist surrounding the Permit to Take Water process;
AND FUTHER be it resolved that the OFVGA lobby the Ontario government to NOT charge a fee for the Permit to Take Water – which could return to the budget table as a means of raising revenue over the next few years nor comply farmers to absorb the cost of meters being placed throughout all locations of the province.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if the Ministry of the Environment is that intent on a meter on each intake source, for every farmer who renews a permit or requests a new one, then the MOE should be the body responsible for the cost of said meter – not the farmer
Wildlife management (06-07)
WHEREAS berry growers are facing increased pressure from wildlife including deer, bears and
wild turkeys, and
WHEREAS growers are unable to legally defend their crops from wildlife damage, and
WHEREAS growers need the flexibility to protect their crops from further damage;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the OBGA strongly request to the Ontario Government that Wildlife Management of deer, bears, & wild turkeys must be improved, so that grower may control (kill) wild life and stop the destruction of all fruit crops by these animals.