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

Mission Mayor Pam Alexis to run for the NDP

Will take on Liberal Simon Gibson in the Abbotsford-Mission riding

MEDICAL MOMENTS: Dr. Andrew Edelson has served Mission for more than 45 years

Why Mission? ‘Mostly because it’s such a wonderful community,’ he says

BC launches 22 new primary care networks, including one in Mission

Will be adding family physicians, a nurse practitioner and a social worker

Missing Chilliwack woman last seen on Wednesday

Friends and family concerned for Joy-Lynn Leon, 42, who was last seen Sept. 23 on Mary Street

Abbotsford has a COVID-19 rate 10 times higher than Chilliwack

Abbotsford has been much harder hit by COVID-19 than its neighbour to the east

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read