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That's a step in the right direction. When you consider that 56% of CANADA'S farmland is IN Ontario, and farmland is being eaten up for development, infrastructure, without any real forethought for the future generations, and the farmers who will be required to feed them.

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It's a nice thought, but all the greenbelt did was encourage developers to snap up land in Kitchener/Waterloo and other areas on the fringe of the GTA that are not protected. Sad truth is that the land they snapped up is much productive than that which exists in the greenbelt.
That's true. When you think about it, if the government wants to use the "greenbelt" lands supposedly put aside they will, there are conditions attached to the lands. And yes, you are right, developers "leap frog" over and around greenbelt areas. That is why it is soooo important for municipalities to reserve some farm land in their areas that is untouchable by development and infrastructure. Don't rezone to satisfy some corporation, and create some sort of buffer zone between subdivisions and active farm land. Farming is sometimes dirty, dusty, noisy and smelly. While people believe they want to live closer to the farm, once their romantic idea of farming is dashed, they complain which either leads to pushing out the farmer (rezoning), or creating tension between the neighbours.
I agree that we need to be sensible about housing development in prime ag areas, but we've gone too far. Modern farming means larger land bases. Farmers end up owning numerous houses as there was traditionally 1 house for every 100 acre farm. We have gone to the extreme now whereby farmers end up bulldozing houses that have been there for over 100 years because they cannot sever the house with a few acres and renting out these houses is not productive. We need kids in our rural schools, families in our rural churches, non-farm residents on our rural councils - in other words, community. Minimum distance regulations preclude big livestock operations, so why in the world would municipalities (province) be so short sighted about allowing existing houses to be severed, sold, enhanced? We need the assessment and the people. In my area, so many houses have come down that there are miles of road that must be maintained and cleared of snow for 1 or 2 houses. I have 2 that will come down in the next couple of years if things don't change. I don't like new lots being created, but old farmhouses are spaced out properly and should be available to those who put more value on them than farmers who see them as a nuisance and headache.

Avia Eek said:
That's true. When you think about it, if the government wants to use the "greenbelt" lands supposedly put aside they will, there are conditions attached to the lands. And yes, you are right, developers "leap frog" over and around greenbelt areas. That is why it is soooo important for municipalities to reserve some farm land in their areas that is untouchable by development and infrastructure. Don't rezone to satisfy some corporation, and create some sort of buffer zone between subdivisions and active farm land. Farming is sometimes dirty, dusty, noisy and smelly. While people believe they want to live closer to the farm, once their romantic idea of farming is dashed, they complain which either leads to pushing out the farmer (rezoning), or creating tension between the neighbours.
I understand what you are saying, but that's not the problem we're having. I guess in different areas the agricultural uses are also different. Outside of the Marsh (we are Specialty Crop Area--so no developing--period) some of the local municipalities have decided they need to "beef" (no pun intended) up their industrial and residential base. The problem is, Class 1 agricultural land is sacrificed to do so. So many times I have heard people say, "well the farmer sold the land". Yes, after years of working his butt off and not seeing any great profit margins (international trade is great for the country, not so great for some farmers), and no pension at the end, the sale of the farm IS his retirement money. Agriculture NEEDS to be seriously recognized by the policy-makers and changes made so that farmers don't have to take such drastic measures. We have non-farmers who live in our area, but they rent out the land to the farmers. We have bought properties with houses, and rent them out, but use the land--so no tearing down of houses out here.
This is an issue that has cropped up in Perth Cty and we are now dealing with it in Huron County. Huron is currently reviewing their Official Plan and they are considering allowing severances of "surplus farm houses". The issue becomes - we have so many empty 100 ac farms (or larger) that the Planning Dept. does not want someone buying a bare 100 acre farm with the intent to build a house on it and severe the house off once it is built. For example - there are four such properties (bare 100 ac) that butt up against my parent's farm (300 acre block plus 100 across a concession). Then then there are another 4 properties within 1 mile west.
There are two suggestions: allow surplus farmhouse severances for houses built prior to June 28, 1973 (original Official Plan came into effect) or farms that have houses habitated for over 25 years (example - the house was built prior to June 28, 1973 but it was replaced in 1990 due to a fire or a "rebuild"). The neighbour's house across the road from me would not qualify because it has been empty for at least the last 20 years and is falling down.
Also within the Official Plan for Huron County there is sufficient wording that puts priority on prime agricultural land (Class 1 to 3) and attempts to protect that land for agricultural purposes only (or commercial/industrial agricultural uses - ex. on farm cheese processor).
Huron's DRAFT Official Plan: http://www.huroncounty.ca/plandev/officialplan.php

Peter Gredig said:
I agree that we need to be sensible about housing development in prime ag areas, but we've gone too far. Modern farming means larger land bases. Farmers end up owning numerous houses as there was traditionally 1 house for every 100 acre farm. We have gone to the extreme now whereby farmers end up bulldozing houses that have been there for over 100 years because they cannot sever the house with a few acres and renting out these houses is not productive. We need kids in our rural schools, families in our rural churches, non-farm residents on our rural councils - in other words, community. Minimum distance regulations preclude big livestock operations, so why in the world would municipalities (province) be so short sighted about allowing existing houses to be severed, sold, enhanced? We need the assessment and the people...

Hi Avia

I hate computers, but I thought I just as well become familiar with them because they tell me they are a great way to comunicate. Heck, look what it s done for you. You've become a political personality, and gained a lot of recognition
for all the effort you have put in. Reward for your time? I guess activly defending your industry, home and lifestyle, and
setting an example to your children to do the same and be responsible as a citizen. In numbers you have a vioce and
power and your leadership will not go unnoticed. Already the buzz around the town is "What would have happened if
no one defended us for these serious issues. Today was a prime example of how our community came together and
defended our beliefs to make the world a better place to live in, not only for us and our citizens, but also for poverty
stricken people from far away lands. I am pleased with the outcome, now onto the next hurdle

Tony Gaetano
I couldn't have put it better myself, Tony, but I cannot take the credit--we have an amazing group of dedicated Farmers, and now we know what we can accomplish if we work together. We all have the same goal--one hurdle at a time, and we WILL get there. Thank YOU for your commitment of time!

Tony Gaetano said:
Hi Avia

I hate computers, but I thought I just as well become familiar with them because they tell me they are a great way to comunicate. Heck, look what it s done for you. You've become a political personality, and gained a lot of recognition
for all the effort you have put in. Reward for your time? I guess activly defending your industry, home and lifestyle, and
setting an example to your children to do the same and be responsible as a citizen. In numbers you have a vioce and
power and your leadership will not go unnoticed. Already the buzz around the town is "What would have happened if
no one defended us for these serious issues. Today was a prime example of how our community came together and
defended our beliefs to make the world a better place to live in, not only for us and our citizens, but also for poverty
stricken people from far away lands. I am pleased with the outcome, now onto the next hurdle

Tony Gaetano
Are we all mixed up????? Rural and urban interest don't go hand in hand. We see now in my area class one agric. land being developed for solar panels that could be build on roofs. This near London.
What is the role of our elected officials ????????????
Hi Rein. I have to agree with you. We elect these officials thinking they will protect the best interests of the people, but as I become more involved through the Growers' Association, I am finding if you do not stand up and advocate for yourself, unfortunately, you find yourself up the creek without a paddle. Horticulture (our sector of Agriculture), as well as other sectors of Agriculture are finding ourselves having to be more astute in political matters. We are the backbone of this country, yet given the least amount of respect. We are paid "lip service" occasionally, but let's face it, actions speak louder than words--and our politicians' actions are saying the opposite of what their lips are saying! Gone are the days when we could just carry on the business of Farming, which is extensive in its own right. Now, we must also learn how to be savvy where politicians are concerned, and play by their rules--so be it!

rein minnema said:
Are we all mixed up????? Rural and urban interest don't go hand in hand. We see now in my area class one agric. land being developed for solar panels that could be build on roofs. This near London.
What is the role of our elected officials ????????????
Hugh Hammond Bennett, wrote “Out of the long list of nature's gifts to man, none is perhaps so utterly essential to human life as soil.” Soil is sacred.

Avia you talk about agriculture and farmers as if they are two different components.

Confucius wrote in the Rectification of Names “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.”

Agriculture is defined as " a class of people that till the soil a/or raise stock" It is about persons working in conjunction with natural resources. Agriculture consists of two components. It deals with liberty and security of property interconnected with liberty and security of “persons”

If there is to be a meaningful discussion about agriculture, there can be no separation between the land and the person, the farmer.

You state 'Agriculture NEEDS to be seriously recognized by the policy-makers...' I agree. But land without the "farmer" is not farmland. It is merely real estate and a person.

To recognize agriculture, to support agriculture means recognizing and supporting a class of people. Without the farmer there cannot be agriculture.... its as simple as that.

As for selling land for retirement, who can blame the farmer? Lot development is an ancient right and part of Free and Common Socage.. the land grants. Farmers were given the right to create a lot for capital disposal. It was a means to raise capital for retirement purposes. Our GFOs gave Mr. McGuinty the blessings to dissolve the farmers' original pension plan.... lot development. The GFOs gave away the farmers ancient right of lot development without negotiating an alternative pension plan. Is that responsible negotiations? Where is the support for a special class of people, the farmer, in their retirement? Our government canceled their pension plans without compensation.

While it will be argued that lot development, surplus dwellings create other problems such as urban encroachment... i will agree ... but that is a societal problem. If society does not want farmers to exercise their ancient rights then society should offer compensation to farmers to forgo those rights. Why should farmers solely financially shoulder societal problems in regards to agricultural lands?

As for the GreenBelt, Mr. McGuinty has partially taken rights away from farmers in the affected area but did not release them of their obligations. Is that fair?

Agriculture in Ontario is a very complex topic. More research needs to be done if we are to give any meaningful direction in regards to policy changes.... or affairs will not be carried on to success ...and we will just deny the truth of things in regards of agriculture.

Avia Eek said:
I understand what you are saying, but that's not the problem we're having. I guess in different areas the agricultural uses are also different. Outside of the Marsh (we are Specialty Crop Area--so no developing--period) some of the local municipalities have decided they need to "beef" (no pun intended) up their industrial and residential base. The problem is, Class 1 agricultural land is sacrificed to do so. So many times I have heard people say, "well the farmer sold the land". Yes, after years of working his butt off and not seeing any great profit margins (international trade is great for the country, not so great for some farmers), and no pension at the end, the sale of the farm IS his retirement money. Agriculture NEEDS to be seriously recognized by the policy-makers and changes made so that farmers don't have to take such drastic measures. We have non-farmers who live in our area, but they rent out the land to the farmers. We have bought properties with houses, and rent them out, but use the land--so no tearing down of houses out here.
Well said, Joann.

Joann said:
Hugh Hammond Bennett, wrote “Out of the long list of nature's gifts to man, none is perhaps so utterly essential to human life as soil.” Soil is sacred.

Avia you talk about agriculture and farmers as if they are two different components.

Confucius wrote in the Rectification of Names “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.”

Agriculture is defined as " a class of people that till the soil a/or raise stock" It is about persons working in conjunction with natural resources. Agriculture consists of two components. It deals with liberty and security of property interconnected with liberty and security of “persons”

If there is to be a meaningful discussion about agriculture, there can be no separation between the land and the person, the farmer.

You state 'Agriculture NEEDS to be seriously recognized by the policy-makers...' I agree. But land without the "farmer" is not farmland. It is merely real estate and a person.

To recognize agriculture, to support agriculture means recognizing and supporting a class of people. Without the farmer there cannot be agriculture.... its as simple as that.

As for selling land for retirement, who can blame the farmer? Lot development is an ancient right and part of Free and Common Socage.. the land grants. Farmers were given the right to create a lot for capital disposal. It was a means to raise capital for retirement purposes. Our GFOs gave Mr. McGuinty the blessings to dissolve the farmers' original pension plan.... lot development. The GFOs gave away the farmers ancient right of lot development without negotiating an alternative pension plan. Is that responsible negotiations? Where is the support for a special class of people, the farmer?

While it will be argued that lot development, surplus dwellings create other problems such as urban encroachment... i will agree ... but that is a societal problem. If society does not want farmers to exercise their ancient rights then society should offer compensation to farmers to forgo those rights. Why should farmers financially shoulder societal problems in regards to agricultural lands?

As for the GreenBelt, Mr. McGuinty has partially taken rights away from farmers in the affected area but did not release them of their obligations. Is that fair?

Agriculture in Ontario is a very complex topic. More research needs to be done if we are to give any meaningful direction in regards to policy changes.... or affairs will not be carried on to success ....

Avia Eek said:
I understand what you are saying, but that's not the problem we're having. I guess in different areas the agricultural uses are also different. Outside of the Marsh (we are Specialty Crop Area--so no developing--period) some of the local municipalities have decided they need to "beef" (no pun intended) up their industrial and residential base. The problem is, Class 1 agricultural land is sacrificed to do so. So many times I have heard people say, "well the farmer sold the land". Yes, after years of working his butt off and not seeing any great profit margins (international trade is great for the country, not so great for some farmers), and no pension at the end, the sale of the farm IS his retirement money. Agriculture NEEDS to be seriously recognized by the policy-makers and changes made so that farmers don't have to take such drastic measures. We have non-farmers who live in our area, but they rent out the land to the farmers. We have bought properties with houses, and rent them out, but use the land--so no tearing down of houses out here.
I agree Avia, but remember that the world has an ever expandig population, and I predict that in the future large scale food producers will be exposed to large markets as we strain our resources. Take for example the demand for oil. As the Chindia syndrome flourishes, the demand for this non-renewable resource has put a strain on supply. Emerging markets in Asia have consumed the available supply and escalated the price.Only ten years ago oil traded at $10 a barrel. Today we see prices as high as $80. That's a 90% increase In a commodity that was predicted to be worth no more than $25 a barrel. This predicament will not go away any time soon, and will place an increased demand on other commodities. Unless technological advancements are explored to replace certain commodities or increase productivity the price will continue to rise. For the first time ever I have already seen notices that due to weather, logistics or supply that certain products would be temporarily unavailble. In the past our society has enjoyed an abundant energy and food supply. As demand for energy increases, the cost of food will follow creating a demand for our products. I'd have to say that proper urban planning and protection of our greenspaces is much like preventative medicine to avoid ailments in the future. I am certainly positive that as soon as more of these shortages occur, our leaders will have more focus on policies to guarantee supply. The consumer will demand it. As we evolve as a society I notice that the priorities of the general public has changed to secure a healthy and prosperous future. Our future leaders will be the ones that preserve our richest resources, and develop equitable productivity.

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