OFT Supports Campaign Commitment to Farmland

A recent campaign commitment made by the Liberals is being welcomed by the Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT).  “It is very encouraging to hear political leaders formally recognize farmland protection as a key issue in this province, and also heartening that the approach of using easements that the OFT has pioneered in the province is being supported.” says Norman Ragetlie, OFT Chair.  “Similarly, we invite the other leaders to speak to how their election platforms address protection of farmland and will be looking forward to see what land use policies and support for farming is integrated in each party’s vision for the province.”

‘Farms Forever’ and $400 million for Ontario agriculture were unveiled yesterday as elements of the Liberal election platform (Click here for more). Premier Kathleen Wynne presented the Farms Forever program as an enhanced and collaborative approach to farmland protection, alongside a commitment to invest more in job creation and economic development for the agri-food sector.

The Liberal’s Farms Forever program would “facilitate agricultural easements so farmland can stay as farmland.”  Through the program, willing farmers would receive tax advantages or other incentives to protect their farms with easements to prevent future non-agricultural developments on the land, like housing subdivisions and aggregate pits.

The support for the use of easements is consistent with OFT’s Farmland Forever campaign which has been endorsed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario.  “Easements give farmers an option to see their land protected forever for agriculture,” Matt Setzkorn, OFT’s Executive Director, explains. And when integrated with effective land use policies and programs that spark farm business growth and development, easements provide the permanent protection of farmland necessary to ensure long-term prosperity of Ontario’s agri-food sector.