Council extends aid to farmers suffering from drought

City Council approved assistance for local farmers affected by drought by amending the Farm Grant Program to extend property tax due dates on September 12, 2012.

For farmers who are 2012 participants in the program, the final 2012 property tax due date is extended from December 6, 2012 to April 25, 2013. Their interim 2013 property tax due date is also extended to April 25, 2013.

"Last month, I asked staff to explore all options to provide support and extend a helping hand to farmers who are experiencing economic hardship as a result of the severe summer drought," said Mayor Jim Watson. "We recognize the extraordinary circumstances faced by farmers and I am very pleased that we have been able to find a way to assist them."

In addition, 2012 participants in the Farm Grant Program will receive a grant to cover penalties and fees which would normally accrue from the original property tax due dates to the revised due date of April 25, 2013.

The Farm Grant Program is a property tax mitigation measure that allows eligible farmers to defer payment of their final property tax bill, normally due in June, until December. This is achieved by providing a grant to the farmer to cover the penalty until the due date. Details of the existing program are available on ottawa.ca.

Because of low crop yields and higher irrigation costs, City staff will also investigate reduced rent to local farmers’ markets where they rent from the City, and provision of water to farms where wells have gone dry.