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Ontario farm registration streamlined

Ontario farmers filling out their farm business registration (FBR) forms in the next few weeks can look forward to five years of not doing so.

Agricorp, the province’s farm programming delivery agency, noted in a statement that while all farmers in Ontario are required to complete the FBR form in 2015, the process has been streamlined — so the form, once completed this year, need not be completed again until 2020.

FBR forms and payment of the FBR invoice are both due March 1, Agricorp said. Invoices will still be issued annually.

FBRs must be paid up by that date for farmers to be eligible for the farm property class tax rate (25 per cent of the municipal residential rate on agricultural land) and for full membership with one of Ontario’s three accredited farm organizations (Ontario Federation of Agriculture, National Farmers Union-Ontario, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario).

Also, starting this year, any farmer wanting to apply for new farm plates for vehicles will have to demonstrate that he or she has a farm business. That will mean producing either an FBR or a document proving exemption, Agricorp noted.

This year, farmers registering under the FBR will need to include their AgriStability/AgriInvest PINs, if they have one, when they register. The PIN will be used to verify a farmer’s farm income eligibility, Agricorp said.

Information provided on the form may also be used to validate eligibility for other programs requiring an FBR number, Agricorp said.

Ontario farmers are required to have FBRs for eligibility in programs such as the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program and certain initiatives under the federal/provincial Growing Forward 2 funding framework. — Network

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