Jan. 14, 2011 – At the beginning of each year, farmers across the province begin preparing for the Farm Business Registration season to take advantage of government incentive programs for farmers.
Every Ontario farmer who earns a minimum of $7,000 or more in farm income must register their business with AGRICORP under the Farm Business Registration (FBR) program for the following year. With this registration, farmers are eligible for other government programs and can take advantage of valuable tax incentives for their property. Most crop, dairy or livestock sales are eligible sources of farm income and are regulated through the Canada Revenue Agency. Look for your Farm Business Registration forms in the mail in January.
New and beginning farmers cannot obtain an FBR from AGRICORP in their first year because they have not yet met the $7,000 gross farm income requirement in the previous year. Through OMAFRA’s Farm Property Class Tax Rate program, new farmers can apply for a start-up exemption. When the minimum $7,000 threshold is reached, these farmers must remember to apply for an FBR number.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has asked the Ontario government to simplify the process for new and beginning farmers by using the start-up exemption to qualify new farmers for the FBR number itself.
With the annual FBR fee, farmers gain membership to one of the three general farm organizations in Ontario, one of which is the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. OFA has more than 38,000 members across Ontario, and is a leading general farm organization in Canada.
We demonstrate this through our ongoing efforts to advocate your concerns. In recent years, the OFA has worked closely with government and industry partners to return $1 billion back to our members – an average of $20,000 per farm family – through tax incentives and exemptions, lobbying government to voice your top concerns, and working closely with commodity partners to develop bankable risk management programs for farmers. We continue to focus our attention on these and other opportunities for farmers to demonstrate our commitment to our members.
For 75 years we have been dedicated to making our members our number one priority and have the relationships with government and industry partners needed to make your voice heard. This January, when you receive your Farm Business Registration forms, secure a better future for your farm by registering with the OFA. We look forward to working with you for another year of advocacy for Ontario’s farm families.
Mark Wales is vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.