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New study: Two thirds of farmers question if their children should farm

Two thirds of farmers are questioning whether their children should farm at all given the current burden of red tape.


February 4, 2019
By Top Crop Manager


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More farmers are concerned with the burden of red tape compared to 10 years ago (77 per cent in 2008, compared to 81 per cent in 2018) according to findings released on Jan. 24, 2019 by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) during the 10th annual Red Tape Awareness Week.

Confusing forms, bad customer service and excessive government regulations are leaving 69 per cent of Canadian farmers questioning whether their children should take over the farm or start their own business, given the current burden of red tape.

“Canada has a strong farming tradition, and red tape shouldn’t be the issue holding back the next generation from wanting to take over,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for agri-business. “With 41 per cent of farmers planning to retire in the next 10 years, we are seeing producers asking the big question – will the next generation want to take on the ever-mounting burden of red tape?”

Canada Revenue Agency (59 per cent), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (46 per cent), environmental regulations (45 per cent) and Statistics Canada (40 per cent) were voted as the most burdensome agencies and regulations by farmers.

“Red tape can show up in many ways. For example, CFIB recommended, for years, that Statistics Canada should not send out surveys to farmers during peak periods. In fact, 92 per cent of farmers agree that there should be a black-out of surveys during their busiest times. Yet, surveys are still required during spring seeding,” added Braun-Pollon. “While governments are great at celebrating agriculture, and have taken some steps to try to curb the growth of red tape at the farm gate, it is time they make meaningful changes so farmers feel they are being heard instead of unnecessarily over-regulated.”

In response, Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a proposal to reduce red tape for farmers as part of the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act.

If approved, the proposal would allow for the Farm Business Registration Program to be modernized, through electronic delivery and a simplified registration process, making it easier and more cost-effective. This would help farmers to save time and reduce paperwork.

The Minister also hosted a roundtable in Guelph, Ont. to hear how the government can help young farmers as they start, and grow their farm businesses. The government wants a vibrant and diverse agri-food sector, while making it easier for young entrepreneurs to grow their production of local food and niche-market products to meet consumer demand.

“For too long Ontario’s regulatory requirements have been inefficient, inflexible, or out of date,” Hardeman said. “It’s time to reduce the burdens for all farmers and their businesses, but especially our young and new entrants who will feed Ontario for generations to come.”