Saturday, October 8, 2011

October Friday AM article

Tax Inspectors and Harvest time.
Tax inspectors and farmers in the same sentence are a bit like talking about cricket and knitting, there does not seem to be a connection. Lets face it, farmers rarely make enough to pay taxes let alone need inspecting. The only truly money making crop I can think of that would warrant a tax inspector has never been declared as income and likely never will be! HST on the other hand has kept these inspectors busy visiting farms as their new rules mean they owe the farmers money. Seems they cannot believe it and are checking up on us to see why we are claiming such big refunds. Pre HST, farmers could only claim an exception of the Provincial sales tax on certain listed items, but with HST they had a full refund on all items spent in connection with their farming business. This meant an extra 20 million dollars per year to the provinces farmers. As every one knows if you give a farmer some money he or she will spend it in the local economy to keep right on farming. So really it was a tax refund to business from government via farmers. Several area farmers including ourselves took advantage of this and built new barns and buildings on their farms. Costs related to construction and building materials were taxable under the old system but refundable with HST. I am sure none of us did the building because of the refund but it was a nice bonus. We, as good citizens are spending it back into the local economy to finish landscaping around the hall, beats trudging through the mud. Now that extra 20 million dollars that farmers were going to have every year because of the HST will no longer be available, thanks to Billy wooden toes and his supporters. It would have helped out local communities, as it would have gone to local contractors and building supply stores. Was all that fuss really worth it to save a few bucks on a meal in the local dinner just to sit on the couch for 3 weeks with no wages because Farmer Fred is no longer going to build a new hay shed? Silly me, and I though Billy Vanderzam was all for business, big or small, I guess he was just missing the spot light in his retirement.

While writing this it is pouring with rain outside and while the land needs it, the caretakers of the land do not. We have a harvest to gather and wet muddy conditions do not help. The warm sunny fall though has been great until this recent downpour. Hay, vegetables, fruit and livestock have been gathered for marketing or storage. With such a cold poor start this spring things turned around and most crops seemed to be ok. Some of the sun loving crops were a bit late like sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers etc, but it was the best year I can remember for potatoes, carrots and beets. The lesson for those who talk about local food security after this years strange weather sounds eerily similar to something our grandparents would say. Don’t be picky, as the good Lord always provides, just not always what you like to eat!
Our livestock did well this year, as the cooler weather meant less stressed pasture and better weight gains on the lambs. The first batch of chickens struggled with the cool temperatures though giving lighter birds. With the more seasonal temperatures during the rest of the year the second batch did much better and will make excellent wintertime roasters.
The laying hens and young point of lay hens breathed a sigh of relief as they miss the pot this year, but only if they lay well this winter. Some are heritage birds and will be sold as starter flocks to other chicken fanciers.
The other day I saw my first salmon of the season making it’s way upstream reminding me it’s the start of a new year for the Salmon. November 5th is also the start of the New Year for our sheep, as the rams go a ‘courting and start off the whole cycle again. It is also the end of the previous year and we at Harmonious Homestead wish to celebrate a harvest “gathered in” with a traditional Harvest Supper at the Mount Ida Hall on the Homestead on the 5th November. Bring a friend or friends to a scrumptious country style meal in a 100 plus year old building that has seen many Harvest Suppers in this valley over the years. Watch this paper for ticket details or email me below.
Rob Fensom farms in the city at Harmonious Homestead and ewe and can be reached at

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