Farm assessment review recommendations not law yet

RE: Are new farm assessment rules helping or hindering farmers? December 21, 2010

RE: Are new farm assessment rules helping or hindering farmers? December 21, 2010

To the Editor:

Your opinion piece regarding your personal property’s change from farm class to residential class contains a significant error. You indicated that due to a change in the minimum income gained from agricultural production to maintain a farm property classification, you lost your farm classification. Specifically, you stated that it was “due to an increase in minimum income, from $2,500 to $3,500 dollars.”

For the record, it is important to note no such change in policy has occurred. The Farm Assessment Review Panel submitted its report and recommendations to the provincial government on July 31, 2009. One of the recommendations was to establish a single minimum annual income threshold of $3,500 for all farms commencing in 2011, but no action has yet been taken by government with respect to implementing that recommendation.

BC Assessment annually updates its classifications of all properties including those with farm status. To continue to qualify for farm classification, there must be sales of qualifying agricultural products every year, and minimum production levels must be met at least once every two years as follows:

– $2,500 if the area of land is between 8,000 m2 and 4 ha (approx. 2 – 10 acres)

– $2,500 plus five per cent of the actual value of the land in excess of 4 ha, if the area of land is greater than 4 ha.

– $10,000 if the area of land is less than 8,000m2.

If any property owner has any questions about their land’s qualification for farm class status, we encourage them to contact our local BC Assessment office in Kelowna.

Finally, I invite all members of the public to read the full Farm Assessment Review Panel report if they would like to be informed of the Panel’s recommendations to the provincial government. The report can be accessed online at http://www.farmassessmentreview.ca

Again, the changes in income threshold are currently only recommendations and have not been approved by government. Property owners are welcome to provide input on the report’s recommendations through the website’s contact information or by contacting your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).

Katrina LeNoury | Deputy Assessor | Okanagan Region I BC Assessment