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Strong dairy and poultry farming performance boost taxes

(NC) — British Columbia’s dairy, poultry and eggs producers continue to see their tax bills rise, hitting $223.1 million in 2011, an 8.3 per cent jump since 2007, says a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

While other agriculture sectors in B.C. have had a tough time in recent years, dairy and poultry farmers continue to post strong results, including creating 3,350 new jobs between 2007 and 2011, according to a newly released PwC report titled “Economic impact of British Columbia’s dairy, chicken, turkey, hatching egg and table egg industries – 2011 update.”

These sectors operate under the system of supply management, where farmers work with industry and government to set production levels and fair producer prices. This stability has been the anchor of B.C. agriculture’s success, to the point where they now account for 45 per cent of all jobs and 42 per cent of total agriculture output, or $5.6 billion.

While all levels of government have enjoyed ever-increasing tax payments from supply managed farms, their treasuries are also spared from giving any of that money back. Agricultural subsidies – common in other countries – are not paid to supply-managed industries, making the dairy, egg and poultry sectors virtual cash cows.

“The vast majority of farms in supply management are family run and are proud to play central roles in town economies across B.C.,” says Al Sakalauskas, a spokesperson for the B.C. Dairy, Egg and Poultry Industries. “Paying our fair share of taxes is just part of our commitment to the communities where we farm and live.”

Of the 223.2 million paid in taxes in 2011, $119 million went to Ottawa, $81.8 million to Victoria and $22.4 million to municipalities.