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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2009CD0047-000680

November 27, 2009

Ministry of Community and Rural Development

 

 

PROVINCE CHANGES FARM ASSESSMENT CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

 

VICTORIA – The Province is establishing new rules for the split-classification assessment system for farm properties to boost local food production and support small-scale farms, announced Community and Rural Development Minister Bill Bennett.

 

“Supporting family farms at a time when they’re facing the challenges of financial uncertainty, high overhead and a changing climate is essential to preserving one of our most valued industries,” said Bennett. “We’ve listened to what farmers have said, and we’ve responded by reviewing and changing our assessment practices to make it easier for them to continue providing the local products British Columbians rely on.”

 

The change is among the recommendations put forth by the Farm Assessment Review Panel, which the Province established in February 2008 in response to feedback from the farming community and stakeholders.

 

The Province is significantly reducing the tax burden on farm properties by eliminating the split classification of farm properties on the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR) that are not used for other purposes; and eliminating the split classification for non ALR properties where at least 50 per cent of the property is in or contributes to production, or 25 per cent is in production and meets a higher income threshold.

 

Under the split-classification system, portions of farm properties in residential class can be valued at $500,000 an acre or more in urban areas. Farm land has a much lower assessed value and much lower property taxes.

 

“These amendments will help foster continued growth in B.C.’s diverse agriculture sector,” said Agriculture and Lands Minister Steve Thomson. “This is another important measure in the Province's commitment to ensure a sustainable industry, working innovatively with producers and community partners to attract new entrepreneurs to farming as a business and a way of life.”

 

“This change is something the farming community has advocated for and we’re delighted it’s being implemented for the 2010 assessment roll,” said Garnet Etsell, chair of the BC Agriculture Council. “Modifying the split-classification assessment system will have a considerable impact, especially on smallholder farmers’ ability to make a living off the land, and help ensure a sustainable future for agriculture in this province.”


 

 

 

The panel, co-chaired by Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad, conducted broad public consultations on the policies, procedures and statutory framework applied to the assessment of farm properties. The panel submitted their report to the Province on July 31, 2009, which included the split-classification amendment being implemented for the 2010 assessment roll. The panel’s recommendations for the 2011 assessment roll will be strongly considered by government for implementation over the next year.

 

For more information on the Farm Assessment Review Panel’s report, go to http://www.farmassessmentreview.ca/

 

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Media Contact:

 

Public Affairs Bureau

Ministry of Community and Rural Development

250 387-4089

 

 

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