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

Father Charles has devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats and has inspired generations of volunteers to work together to protect and preserve forests and rivers. Photo submitted
Valley environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks near Comox

A Comox Valley family had a meeting with a humpback whale family… Continue reading

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

The Bernice Friesen novel, “Universal Disorder,” will be launched via Zoom on Nov. 14. Photo supplied.
Fat Oyster Reading Series hosting online launch of new novel by Comox Valley author

Fanny Bay’s Fat Oyster Reading Series is going digital, for the launch… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Starting Saturday and continuing until April 3, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will operate at the Native Sons Hall and the parking lot between the hall and the Sid Williams Theatre. (File photo)
Comox Valley Farmers Market secures space

Starting Saturday, Oct. 31, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will expand its… Continue reading

Most Read