Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

The last half of 2012 was busy for me, even took on custom combining to give me an extra reason to run home fast from the factory.  And although the crops turned out good, the markets are favourable, it was still a tough year.  

My appeal (Detail in a prior Blog) to have my farm land taxed at the farm rate came, and the decision made, NO you don't get the farm tax rate, you get to pay 400% of that rate.  Reason, I missed a deadline to apply for a seven digit number from a farm organization that I was entitled to quit with a full refund after joining.  Sounds ridiculous, but that is the system in Ontario.  I had to deal with more government agencies that I ever knew existed all of which claimed powerless to do anything because thats how the legislation is written. That seems par for the course, nothing is set up to support a new farmer, the entire system is anti-small farm.  It shouldn't surprise me, I live in a democracy, and 98% of the voters are not farmers, so why would the government make sense to a farmer.  Its documented by lawyers, run by bureaucrats and propagated by politicians.

It goes beyond one ruling that I find hard to accept, there comes a realization that farming is a loosing situation.  I have just been too blinded by a love of the land, desire to work with nature, be self reliant and control my own fate.  Not things that a government wants and the policies speak volumes.  The reality is most people get it, the evidence is clear, there are fewer farmers every year, and an ever increasing median age.  It will take me 20yrs just to be as old as the AVERAGE farmer in Ontario.  And why would I bother?

Sure, if i am lucky I can work on the farm my whole life, re-investing every sent into equipment and land, so I get to die of heart attack or stroke while loading grain when i'm in my 90's.  Well, maybe I will be a bit loose with my money and drive a Cadillac in those latter years, that should make up for these hard years at the start.  

The general feeling I get from comments on media sites regarding farmers is we are all rich and living a life of luxury on the backs of the tax payer.  Its likely my fault I never applied to any of these "supposed" money hand out programs, i just wanted to farm without the government running the show...big mistake, they are going to find there way in anyhow.  Of course these checks will have far fewer digits than I am lead to believe by those who know nothing at all about agriculture.

But things are good, the land re-assesment shows that my purchase of farm land has had a 220% increase over the two years I've owned it.  (I can just see how low next years tax bill will be).

So I have a real important decision to make, do I pack it in, move to the big city with that high paying Engineering job, live in a comfortable house, where my garbage is picked up at the curb, I can get anything delivered to the house, reduce my snow shovelling to a short section of sidewalk or pay higher taxes to work a second job, live on a dirty poorly maintained gravel road knowing that every dollar i make will be spent to make sure I get to work more.

Its no wonder there are so few young farmers.

There is another side to this.

When I slowly drive down the road and meet a neighbour, we roll down our window and have a chat, blocking the road in both directions.  And we do this until another car comes by.  I could just imagine how many people would call the police if they saw this take place on a Toronto side street.  Theres those friendly conversations with fellow farmers, truck drivers, and friends that take place on the side walks by the bank or in the parking lot at the beer store.  And then there are the suppliers of seed and fertilizers who stop by to offer a drink, or take me out for a free lunch (granted I seem to always spend lots of money at those "free" lunches), these people are nothing like the government. They want to see me succeed, and for that matter so do the old farmers, who almost leave the impression that they are rooting for me.  

When I was young I once heard: This country doesn't succeed because of its government.  It succeeds in spite of it.

I think I am starting to understand what was meant.  At least now I know its not just bad weather that can cause me problems, that is the least of my issues.

It wasn't a hard decision.  This farmer plans to succeed in spite of all this.  I may have made the wrong decision, but somebody has to grow the food, and I look forward to doing it for a very long time.

Views: 600


You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

Comment by Joe Dales on January 11, 2013 at 5:56am

Hi Gus,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about getting started farming.

Every situation is a little different but I think most farmers have had to struggle through the early years.

From a big picture perspective:  we do need young farmers as the older generation decides they have had enough so the potential is there.  The barriers to entry are significant, capital requirements, knowledge and experience required, government redtape...long days, market risk, weather....


I hope you generate enough satisfaction and financial returns that allow you to make your passion of farming a viable and sustainable profession and life.  Keep up the good fight.


Take care and I really enjoy reading your blog.


Joe Dales



877 438-5729 x5013


Comment by Iain Robson on January 11, 2013 at 12:08am

Great post Gus.

I am transitioning into farming, so I can relate to the debate that you talked about. I mean I could easily just stay in the city and live the good life or I can live and the country and live the hard life. For some, it is a an easy decision, but for those few who want to try do something like farming, the decision becomes harder.

I really appreciate your perspective because you are a new farmer. It provides some great insight into the types of things you would have to deal with in that particular situation. 

How long did it take you to actually get the money and buy a farm?

Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

How one company is reducing agricultural waste on Earth Day

As the world celebrates Earth Day on Monday, one agriculture organization is reflecting on the work it accomplished in 2023. According to a release from CleanFarms, a non-profit group that ensures farmers actively contribute to a healthy environment, the agriculture industry used many recycling and safe disposal programs for agricultural plastics and packaging last year, and there’s certainly an appetite for more solutions in the future. One example that CleanFarms offers is AgriRÉCUP in Quebec, which operated four permanent collection programs and two pilot programs in the province that captured pesticide and fertilizer containers, plastics for hay and silage protection and seed, and pesticide and fertilizer bags. “We’re thrilled to have seen so much expansion in our programs last year,” said Barry Friesen, executive director of Cleanfarms. “Earth Day encourages us to acknowledge the important work we get to do on behalf of our members, with farmers, first sellers, ag retailers, an

More incentive for grads to consider agriculture-focused vet career

On any given day, Prince Albert, SK veterinarian Peter Surkan sees roughly 40 patients, but for every patient he sees, there are dozens more waiting. To accommodate all of the clients in the area, Surkan said there needs to be more vets, especially in smaller, rural communities. His practice in Prince Albert only has three full and part-time veterinarians, compared to 10 vets a decade ago. On Friday, the province announced $13.2 million in funding to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in 2024-25, representing a $667,000 increase over last year. The money will partially subsidize 25 training seats for Saskatchewan students. “We continue to see a rising demand for veterinary services in the province and they are a key support for our growing economy,” Advanced Education Minister Gordon Wyant said in a press release. “This is a priority investment for Advanced Education that supports the continued implementation with five new seats, bringing the total now to 25 seats, t

Squeal on Pigs Manitoba receives new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding

Manitoba Pork, in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba, and in collaboration with Manitoba’s agricultural sector, is pleased to announce that the Squeal on Pigs Manitoba initiative will receive over $2.6 million over the next four years to further the work of tracking and removing wild pigs from Manitoba’s landscape. “Wild pigs continue to thrive across Manitoba and are vectors for many diseases that have a devastating impact on both domestic pigs as well as other animals,” said Dr. Wayne Lees, project coordinator, Squeal on Pigs Manitoba. “Together with our partners in both the provincial and federal governments, as well as Manitoba’s agricultural sector and stakeholders across the province, this new funding will allow us to further our efforts to track, trap, and remove wild pigs from the landscape and protect our province.” The goal of the Squeal on Pigs campaign is to identify where wild pigs are in Manitoba, control their spread, and remove as m

Another year of guaranteed financial return for CRSB Certified beef producers from Cargill, its supply chain partners and the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) has once again partnered with Cargill and its customers – Centennial Food Solutions, Gordon Food Service, Intercity Packers, MacGregors Meat & Seafood, McDonald’s Canada, Metro, Recipe Unlimited and Walmart – to provide up to $400 CAD for beef producers maintaining their CRSB Certification. This credit will be provided for another year to “fill the gap” for Canadian beef producers who have made the upfront investment of becomingCRSB Certified but did not receive at least $400 CACargill Certification Credit USE D in financial return for qualifying cattle processed in 2023 as part of the existing Qualifying Cattle Credits  I would like to extend my sincere thanks to these organizations for supporting the CRSB Certified program for another year. In 2024, CRSB will prioritize identifying long-term solutions to ensure certification provides financial value and enduring benefit to producer participation,” said Ryan Beierbach, Chair of the

Competition Bureau Raises Concerns with Bunge-Viterra Merger

The Competition Bureau has thrown some cold water on the proposed Viterra-Bunge merger. 

© 2024   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service