Three farms and over 300 acres were protected by OFT farmland conservation easements in 2012 in Tiny Township through a groundbreaking partnership with the County of Simcoe.
Decades ago, the farms were designated as the future home of the North Simcoe landfill site, and became known as ‘Site 41’. While a part of the site was disturbed with initial construction, the landfill plans were cancelled in response to community concern about the impact on water quality and local agriculture. The site contains some of the best agricultural land in the County in addition to the groundwater beneath the surface being some of the purest in Ontario.
The partnership with Simcoe County is the first of its kind in Ontario, where, in the process of declaring the lands ‘surplus’, the County registered easements in favour of the Farmland Trust before they were sold back to local farmers.
“We have trust in the land trust and you know what? We are glad to hear it will stay in farmland forever.”Tony Nahuis, Easement Landowners
The easements reinforce municipal agricultural by-laws and bring permanent protection to the farmland and groundwater. New farm owners are now actively restoring the farmland, bringing it back into farm production, and promoting good land stewardship. Former OFT Board Chair, Stew Hilts, noted that the partnership with Simcoe County to develop and register these conservation easements signals new opportunities for farmland protection in the province.