It can be a difficult choice, but one Kathryn Enders hopes more farmers are able to make.
The decision to sell a family farm to a developer rather than another farmer makes that person a land speculator instead of a farmer, said Enders, who serves as the Ontario Farmland Trust’s executive director.
“It’s a very difficult decision farmers have to make,” said Enders, whose Guelph-based organization held a day-long forum at Orillia’s Best Western Mariposa Inn and Conference Centre Thursday that featured a wide range of speakers and panel discussions focusing on how to best preserve Ontario’s vanishing farmland, including areas of Simcoe County.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”
The meeting also served as a way to let municipal planners, farmers and others learn about the tools available to protect farmland in Ontario, which conference organizers say now disappears at a rate of roughly 350 acres a day.
The trust, which has been around for about 12 years, seeks to protect and preserve Ontario farmland and associated agricultural, natural and cultural features of the countryside through direct land securement, stewardship, policy research and education for the benefit of Ontarians today as well as future generations.
“We’ve protected 12 farms and 1,200 acres,” Enders said. “But we are relatively new land trust.”
One of the key tools employed by Enders’ organization is a farmland easement agreement.
These agreements ensure a farm will be protected as agricultural land in perpetuity with farmers able to receive a charitable receipt if they sell their land to another farmer as opposed to a developer since the donation receipt will reflect…
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