Frequently Asked Questions

The following represent the most frequently asked questions about farmland easement agreements. Click on each question for the answer.

More questions? Ready to protect your farm? Contact us at 519-824-4120 ext. 52654.

Will a farmland easement agreement really protect my property permanently?
Yes. Farmland easement agreements are registered on property title, and are supported by the Conservation Land Act. Therefore, the agreement applies to all future owners – it runs with the land in perpetuity.
Could my decision to protect my farm from development be overruled by my family?
A farmland easement agreement is the strongest tool an individual property owner has to protect farmland and farming on their land in perpetuity. Agreements can be amended, but not easily. The landowner and the Ontario Farmland Trust can work together to make corrections or changes to an agreement, but they need to be approved by the Minister of Natural Resources (and Environment Canada if it is an Eco-Gift). Any change must show that it is consistent with the original intent of the agreement and offers enhancements to the protection of the land.

It is important to notify your family of your intentions before beginning the easement agreement process.

Could my decision to protect my farm from development be expropriated by government?
It is possible for protected lands to be expropriated by government. The land trust is a partner with the landowner to work with government to avoid this scenario. History shows in the vast majority of cases that government will avoid expropriating these lands wherever possible.
What if I have a mortgage on my property?
A mortgage adds another level of detail to the easement agreement process. You will need to approach your bank to see if they will allow a farmland easement agreement on the property.
What are the potential limitations that will be imposed by an easement agreement?
Farmland easement agreements are restrictive covenants. They will restrict any changes to land use that could impact the agricultural or natural features of the property.

Restrictions may include:
– Future development
– Prevention of subdivision of the property
– Prevention of clear cutting forests and draining wetlands in natural areas identified in the agreement

Restrictions are negotiated in the development of the easement agreement.

My land is held in a farm corporation – can corporations enter into a farmland easement agreement?
Yes, but the tax implications are different for incorporated farms. Consult your accountant or farm advisor for support.
Can I still live on my farm after I enter into a farmland easement agreement?
Yes. Agreements are most commonly placed on the title of the land, while the land owner continues to own, live and work on the farm.
Can I sell my land after I put an agreement on my farm?
Yes. The agreement is placed on the title of the property, so stays with the property, even if the ownership of the land changes hands. The subsequent owner’s use of the land will be restricted by the terms set out in the agreement.
Can I still roll the land over to my child once an agreement is on it?
Yes. Your generational rules for transfer will still apply. You can transfer at death or in your lifetime.
Could an agreement help make my land more affordable for my children or a beginning farmer?
Yes. Farm owners may use an agreement to receive part of their property value as a charitable tax receipt, then reduce the selling price by this amount for family members or another farmer. This can make land ownership more affordable for the next farm successor.
Is a farmland easement agreement the same as a utility easement?
No. A utility easement is a legal right of access to a portion of property for the purpose of installing and maintaining its distribution system.

A farmland easement agreement is an agreement made on the title of the property to maintain the agricultural and conservation features of that property in perpetuity – it ‘runs with the land’ forever.

Who will have access to my land once an agreement is registered?
There is no public access as a result of an easement agreement. The organization that the easement value has been donated to will have access to the land for monitoring purposes. Mutual meeting times will be established to ensure the property is being maintained according to the agreement.
How does a farmland easement agreement affect the value of my property?
The value of your property typically decreases at the time of appraisal, resulting in a tax benefit. However, this does not impact market value. Market value is always what a buyer is willing to pay. Contact your real estate agent for further advice.
Will it cost me money to enter into a farmland easement agreement?
There are direct and indirect costs associated with executing a farmland easement agreement. Typically, the Ontario Farmland Trust will cover all the direct costs associated with registering a farmland easement agreement. Any indirect costs, such as consulting financial and legal advisors will be the cost of the landowner. This can vary depending on each land owner’s situation.
Can I leave an easement agreement in my will?
Yes. Farmland easement agreements can be donated through a bequest. You can name the Ontario Farmland Trust in your will. It is important to contact the Ontario Farmland Trust before naming the Trust in your will. It is possible to work with the land trust to develop an agreement that can then be attributed on death. It is also possible to donate land to the OFT in your will. See Legacy Giving on our website for more details.  
Can I leave my property to whomever I want in my will if I put an agreement on it?
Yes. You can leave the ownership of your property to your children, a beneficiary of your choice, or transfer ownership to the Ontario Farmland Trust.

 

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