Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Accreditation time again for farm organizations

Three sets of public hearings are set for late June to hear applications from general farm organizations for re-accreditation by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeals Tribunal.

The last time re-accreditation time rolled around, all three flunked their initial applications.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario have both been able to continue under special provisions from the minister of agriculture.

They have been warned they better be ready this time.

The National Farmers Union never did win tribunal approval until it went to court to regain accreditation.

The three farm organizations depend on accreditation for their funding which comes from farmers who must register with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs every year and pay a set fee to the farm organization of their choice.

They need accreditation for access to key provincial programs, including a break on municipal property taxes on their land.

The key sticking point the last time around was the inability of the farm organizations to demonstrate that the farmers really wanted to be members of their organization.

Now the organizations are asking members to make their choice clear before they file their annual farm registration papers with AgriCorp.

AgriCorp began sending out registration forms in January and alerted farmers that they will need to fill out the new four-page form and to include their PIN number for AgriStabiltiy and/or AgrInvest if they have one.

The fee, including HST, is $220.35.