Laying hens at an Abbotsford farm: large-scale production dominates agricultural products, while small farmers are restricted in what processing and sales they can do on site. (Abbotsford News)

COVID-19: Minimum income for farm tax status waived in B.C.

B.C. Liberals want to allow food sale from home kitchens

With B.C. farmers struggling to harvest and sell crops in the coronavirus pandemic, the B.C. government has suspended the regulation that requires a minimum income to qualify for farm property tax status in 2021.

Current regulations require the minimum gross farm income to be met every two years, with at least some income generated each year from a qualifying agriculture use based on the size of the farm. Tax status is determined by BC Assessment, which sends out self-reporting income questionnaires and then conducts intermittent inspections to determine if farms should retain their tax status for the upcoming year.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said the one-year waiver of the rule is in response to a difficult year for smaller-scale farms, which depend on roadside stands, farm markets and public interaction for their revenue.

“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,” the ministry said in a statement July 29.

The B.C. Liberal opposition has been calling on the Popham and the NDP government to give farmers more options. Delta South MLA Ian Paton, the agriculture critic, presented a private member’s bill last week that would permit farmers to sell products from their kitchens as well as raw produce.

RELATED: B.C. cuts fees, not red tape for farmland housing

RELATED: It’s still OK to gravel your road, B.C. farmers told

“There are people throughout the province who would love the opportunity to sell fresh baked goods, fruits and veggies, jams and jellies and so much more,” Paton said. “Right now, if someone cannot afford an industrial kitchen, they are incredibly limited in where they can sell their products.”

B.C. Liberal MLA John Rustad introduced another bill calling on the NDP government to repeal legislation that restricts secondary uses on farmland in areas, prevents farmers from applying directly to the Agricultural Land Commission for property exclusions, and restricting additional housing on farmland.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire damages Harrop nursery

The cause of the blaze is under investigation

LETTER: Time to re-purpose airstrip

From reader John Bowden

Nelson Innovation Centre to host pitch competition

Deadline to apply for the first of three events is Sept. 24

School bus registration now open in SD8

Registration deadline is Sept. 4

BUSINESS BUZZ: COVID and cash, ATCO’s Weatherford heads Selkirk board, and more

Darren Davidson brings us the latest goings-on in the local business world

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read