After reading recent articles on large dairy and cherry operations and the problems they leave behind, and doing a little homework, it is clear to me that industrial agriculture is not paying its way financially or ethically.
Financially, these multi-million-dollar operations pay property taxes equivalent to a mere handful of residential properties and a fraction of what industrial or commercial properties pay.
The taxes for a vacant un-farmed property are the same as a full-blown multi-million-dollar operation.
A good example would be the case of a full production marijuana grow facility paying no more tax than an unused farm.
Ethically, whether it is polluting ground or surface water or disrupting the lives of surrounding neighbours (both rural farming and residential neighbours) with noise levels above healthy standards any day of the week and any hour of the day or night, industrial farm operations need to be responsible and should be treated just as all other commercial and manufacturing operations.
Presently, these large operations hide behind an antiquated Right to Farm Act that was introduced to protect traditional, smaller family operations.
Presently, non-resident farm owners are increasing at an unprecedented and alarming rate in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island areas as Chinese investors are buying up farm land for industrial purposes.
We are just in the infancy of non-resident industrial farm operation issues and our provincial government needs to get a move on.