Buying a Farm in Grey & Bruce CountiesTax Benefits for Landowners 28 July 2021

Is HST Charged on Farm Sales?

As a general rule, farmland is taxable unless there is an exemption. If no exemptions apply, the buyer and seller may choose to decline the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) if certain conditions are met.

What is the CRA definition of farmland?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) generally considers farmland to mean land that is regularly used to earn or produce income from a farming business. It can also include vacant land like bush or forest and any buildings that are not used directly for a farming business.

What are the HST exemptions for farmland?

The following three situations qualify for an HST exemption:

Selling or transferring a farm to a related person (or former spouse or common-law partner) for their individual use and enjoyment. The farmland must have been used for farming at some time prior to the transfer and not used for any other commercial activity immediately before the transfer. 

A partnership, trust or corporation selling a farm to a partner, beneficiary, shareholder or relative for their personal use and enjoyment. Immediately before the transfer, 90% or more of the property should be used for farming. The partner, beneficiary, shareholder, spouse, or child of that individual should be actively engaged in the business of the partnership, trust, or corporation.

An individual or a trust selling or transferring personal use property. The exemption applies to farmland that has not been used primarily for farming but not for land held by corporations or partnerships. It also does not apply if the property has been previously subdivided or severed into more than two parts, unless these portions were sold to a related person or former spouse/common-law partner for their personal use and enjoyment.


Is HST Charged on Farms? Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


When can sellers and buyers choose not to charge/pay HST on farmland?

There are two situations when HST payment can be declined:

Selling an ongoing farming business. The farmer and the purchaser may jointly choose to decline the HST payable by completing form GST44. The buyer must buy 90% or more of the property required to carry on the business. This choice is not available when the seller is registered for the HST, but the buyer is not.

Estates – the estate of a deceased individual and the beneficiary may decide together to have no HST payable if one of these conditions is met:

  • the deceased used the farmland in a business right before death

  • the estate is transferring the business assets according to the will or applicable laws to a beneficiary and an HST/GST registrant

  • the farmland is used in a business by the beneficiary


Is HST Charged on Farms? Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How is HST collected on farmland sales?

Unless farmland is eligible for one of the exemptions or choices described above, the sale of farmland used primarily in a farming business will be taxable. However, the collection of the HST can occur in one of the two scenarios below.

What happens if you are selling farmland to a person who is registered for HST?

In this case, the seller is not required to collect HST. The buyer reports the HST payable and claims an offsetting input tax credit on their next HST return. Buyers who are using 90% or more of the farmland in a farming business can claim a full input tax credit. 

In this kind of situation, it’s prudent for the seller to confirm if the buyer is registered for HST at the time of the sale.

What happens if you are selling farmland to a person who is not registered for the HST?

In this scenario, the seller is required to collect the HST and pay it to the CRA. If farmland will be used in a farming business, the purchaser can register for HST and claim an input tax credit to recover this amount. Normally, the CRA will backdate a registration for up to 30 days.

Is HST charged on houses on a farm?

When farmland is sold with a residence or house, the sale is considered to be two separate sales: (1) the portion including the house plus any land required for the use and enjoyment of the house, and (2) the rest of the land. The sales of used houses are generally exempt from HST.

Buying a Farm in Grey & Bruce CountiesFarming TopicsTax Benefits for Landowners 26 July 2021

Tax Benefits for Landowners through Ducks Unlimited

Are you completing a Managed Forest Plan for your southern Ontario property? Do you have an existing wetland on your property? Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) can help you save money.

How can I get a tax benefit from Ducks Unlimited?

We talked about the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP) in our last blog post. Ontario landowners who qualify for the MFTIP and have a wetland that meets certain criteria are eligible for a 40% reimbursement (up to $600) from Ducks Unlimited Canada toward their approved Managed Forest Plan. 

This is a pilot partnership under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s MFTIP program that includes DUC, the Ontario Woodlot Association, and forest landowners. This partnership is meant to help improve wetland stewardship in southern Ontario.


Tax Benefits for Landowners through Ducks Unlimited, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Is my wetland eligible for the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program?

To be eligible, landowners must:

  • Complete a Managed Forest Plan through the MFTIP program (with a Managed Forest Plan Approver)

  • Identify an existing wetland in their Managed Forest Plan, which is a minimum of 5 acres (2 hectares) and provides waterfowl habitat

  • Be located within the southern Ontario eligibility area

  • Commit to a 10-year Conservation Agreement with DUC

The MFTIP program cannot overlap with other DUC conservation programs such as livestock exclusion fencing or installing wood duck nest boxes.

For more information, visit Ducks Unlimited’s website or contact Ducks Unlimited to speak with a conservation specialist. In Ontario, call (705) 721-4444 (Barrie) or email


Tax Benefits for Landowners through Ducks Unlimited, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Can I donate land for a tax benefit?

Ducks Unlimited Canada is one of the few charities that accept land donations, primarily land that is considered ecologically sensitive.

To encourage the preservation of ecologically sensitive land, the Canadian Government provides enhanced tax incentives for gifts of land and conservation easements to DUC. These gifts of land offer substantial tax savings and eliminate capital gains that would normally be due if lands were sold. 


Tax Benefits for Landowners through Ducks Unlimited, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How do I get started with land donation?

For more information, visit Ducks Unlimited’s website or contact one of the national planned giving managers, or contact your legal, tax or financial advisor. In eastern Canada, contact Janice O’Dette

Buying a Farm in Grey & Bruce CountiesFarming TopicsTax Benefits for Landowners 23 July 2021

What is the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program?

Do you have some bush or forest area on your rural property? You may be eligible for tax relief when you follow an approved Managed Forest Plan. This blog post will provide a brief overview of the Government of Ontario’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP).

How does the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program work?

Landowners who arrange for their property to be classified as a ‘Managed Forest’ only pay 25% of the municipal tax rate for residential properties.

Participants create and follow a 10-year Managed Forest Plan that explains how they will manage their forest property responsibly. The plan needs to be examined and accepted by a Managed Forest Plan Approver. 

To stay in the program, participants submit a 5-year progress report and update their management plan every 10 years.

Who is eligible for the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program?

Participants need to:

  • own 4 hectares (9.88 acres) or more of forested land on a single property in Ontario on one municipal roll number

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

  • be a Canadian corporation or partnership

  • be a trust or conservation authority

  • have a minimum number of trees on each hectare (acre) of forest 

Residences, landscaped areas, and land used for residential or other purposes are not eligible.


What is the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program? Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How can I apply for the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program?

Step 1: Read the MFTIP Guide to see if you qualify. A Managed Forest Plan Approver can verify your eligibility.

Step 2: Create a Managed Forest Plan that includes details about your property and how you will manage it.

Step 3: Have your plan reviewed and accepted by a Managed Forest Plan Approver.

Step 4: Complete the application form.

Step 5: Gather the following documents for your application package:

  • Managed Forest Plan

  • MFTIP 10-year application form

  • An area verification form for each property and an approval form, both completed by a Managed Forest Plan Approver

  • a copy of the most recent property assessment notice for each property (provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation)

Step 6: Send the complete application package to:


Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

5th Floor S

300 Water St

PO Box 7000

Peterborough ON  K9J 8M5


What is the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program? Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


When is the application deadline for Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program?

June 30 to qualify for the following year.

Where can I find more information about the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program?

Visit the Government of Ontario website at

Email address:

Telephone number: 1-855-86-MFTIP (63847)

Buying a Farm in Grey & Bruce CountiesFarming Topics 22 July 2021

What’s the Difference Between GMO and Organic Farming?

Are you confused about the difference between GMO and organic farming? Agriculture in Grey and Bruce counties uses both methods. Here’s a brief survey of the main differences between these two kinds of farming.


What’s the Difference Between GMO and Organic Farming, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How is GMO food grown?

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered or modified in a way that would not happen naturally. In most cases, genetic engineering works by injecting an organism with genetic material from another species. 

GMO seeds were introduced commercially in 1996 and are now very common for corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton.

GMO crops can be referred to as genetically engineered (GE), herbicide-tolerant (HT), or Bt crops. Herbicide-tolerant crops (“Roundup-ready crops”) are engineered to survive the use of one or more herbicide chemicals that would normally kill or severely stunt a crop. Bt crops are designed to produce toxins that kill certain insects.

GMO crops lower production costs for farmers and help crops resist plant diseases caused by insects or viruses.


What’s the Difference Between GMO and Organic Farming, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How is organic food grown?

Organic farming follows strict government standards for growing food without toxic and persistent pesticides, herbicides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering, excluded practices, sewage sludge, irradiation, solvents, or additives.

Organic farming is heavily regulated and closely monitored for many factors, including soil quality, pest control, and animal raising practices. To earn organic certification, land must be worked without prohibited materials for at least three years. Organic farmers create an organic operating farm plan that is overseen by their certification agency with annual third-party inspections.

Organic farmers rely on hand weeding, mechanical control, mulches, cover crops, crop rotation, dense planting, and pasture grazing.  

Organic livestock grown for meat, eggs and dairy products is raised without the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, or animal by-products. Farmers provide their animals with organic feed, cage-free living conditions, and access to the outdoors and pasture. For example, organic cows are required to graze on grass for a minimum of one-third of their lives.

Buying a Farm in Grey & Bruce CountiesFarming Topics 20 July 2021

Soil Types in Grey & Bruce Counties

Grey and Bruce counties offer an abundance of farmland. This blog post will provide a brief overview of soil types in the region. For more detailed information and soil maps (like those pictured below), visit Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs soils web page.

What are the soil types in Canada?

Canadian soil is classified into ten different orders based on the surrounding environment and on the composition of the soil. The soil types found in Grey and Bruce counties is shown in bold font.

  • Chernozemic (grassland soil)

  • Solonetzic (grassland soil)

  • Podzolic (forest soil)

  • Luvisolic (forest soil)

  • Brunisolic (forest soil)

  • Gleysolic (water-saturated soil)

  • Regosolic (unstable slopes, sand dunes, floodplains, etc.)

  • Vertisolic (high clay landscapes)

  • Cryosolic (soil with permafrost)

  • Organic (Boreal Forest soil)

What are the soil types in Bruce County?

Three distinct kinds of soil occur in Bruce County: Grey-Brown Podzolic, Brown Forest, and the Dark Grey Gleysolic. The Grey-Brown Podzolic soils are the dominant well-drained soils in the area. The surface soil is generally 3 to 4 inches thick, dark greyish brown to very dark brown, moderately friable, slightly to moderately acid, and moderately high in organic matter. 


Soil Types in Grey & Bruce Counties, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


In the northern part of the county, the Bruce Peninsula is dominated by the Breypen land type, which consists primarily of exposed rock outcrop with small pockets of soil materials. Based on the Canada Land Inventory, which classifies land based on farming potential, most of the Bruce Peninsula has no agricultural capability because of surface stoniness and bedrock outcrops, topography, and poor soil drainage.


Soil Types in Grey & Bruce Counties, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


However, some areas in the central part of the Bruce Peninsula have been classified as Class 1-3 and are considered Prime Agricultural Lands. The well-drained Brown Forest soils in the area are usually 3 to 4 inches thick, dark grey, friable, and of granular structure. Soil types include clay loam in the Judges Creek area, silt loam at Ferndale and north of it, and sandy loam near Ferndale, Lion’s Head and Little Pike Bay. 

What are the soil types in Grey County?

The soils of Grey County are very diversified due to differences in soil materials (clay, sand, and gravel), texture, drainage, topography, and climate.

In the southern half of the county, the soils developed under a temperate climate and mixed hardwood vegetation with the characteristics of the Grey-Brown Podzolic soil type. These soils developed on tills, gravels and sands with up to 4 inches of very dark brown silt loam.

In the northern half of the county, climate, soil materials, and age have resulted in shallow profiles with characteristics similar to the Brown Forest soil groups and are considered to be Brown Forest-Grey-Brown Podzolic Intergrades. These soils are found in well-drained locations in the northern half of the county that developed on till soils, gravels, and sands. Typical of the region is up to 3 inches of black loam with high lime stony till materials.

Farming Topics 19 July 2021

Start Beekeeping in 10 Steps

Are you interested in learning how to start beekeeping and producing your own honey? The Ontario Beekeeping Association (OBA) has a list of Five Questions To Ask Yourself to see if this is the right activity for you! 

Here are 10 steps to help you get a successful start to your beekeeping journey.

1. Join a local beekeepers association 

The very best way to start beekeeping is to join a local beekeeping association. Most associations are made up of new and experienced beekeepers, and they meet regularly to share information. Most associations have beekeeping books, magazines and videos for loan, and they bring in expert speakers. You can speak with an experienced beekeeper and ask for a visit to his/her beeyard and offer to help out to get some hands-on experience. 


Start Beekeeping in 10 Steps, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


2. Learn all you can! 

It’s become more common for Ontario bee suppliers to only sell bees to people who have had some training. Sign up for one of the Ontario Beekeeper’s Association (OBA) workshops or look for a local course in your area. Then, continue your education with a few good beekeeping books and magazines, learn from the OBA’s Tech-Transfer Program, and explore the Internet. 

Be aware that although there are a lot of good resources online, there is also a lot of bumpf (a technical term for really bad beekeeping advice). It’s best to choose a few recommended experts that you can relate to and listen to them.

3. Start small 

It’s a good idea to start with two or three hives. This will give you an idea of what it takes to keep bees, if your location is suitable, and whether you enjoy it or not. Two or more hives are also helpful for comparing hives and for equalizing winter stores and population for successful over-wintering.

4. Make a plan 

When you start beekeeping, there are a number of practical considerations: 

  • How much does it cost to start up beekeeping?

  • Where can I buy bees in Ontario?

  • What kind of bees are best in Grey & Bruce?

  • What kind of equipment do I need to start beekeeping?

  • How will I manage my hives?

  • What kind of records will I keep?

When it comes to the honey production side, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but you’ll feel a lot more confident if you make a plan ahead of time. 


Start Beekeeping in 10 Steps, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


5. Consider your equipment

There are a lot of options in beekeeping equipment, especially in hive components. You’ll want to think about your physical capacity and the pros and cons of various options. It’s a pretty significant financial investment, and you’ll be living with your choices for a long time. 

The most common hive bodies used are “standard” sized Langstroth equipment, but beekeepers are also quite often using medium-sized honey boxes, and some are using 8-frame components, although they are harder to source in Canada. There is a growing interest in topbar hives as well. Check out Ontario’s local suppliers for 10-frame hives. If you are interested in 8-frame equipment, look into Brushy Mountain and Dadant in the U.S. 

Invest in good-quality smoker and hive tools because you want them to last.

6. Review local by-laws and register your hives 

In Ontario, you are required to register your hives, and there are some important beekeeping regulations you need to know. When you register your hives, it gives the province important statistical data, and they will send you updates on recommended practices. Registration also connects you to the provincial inspectors, who are a very supportive source of expert information and advice. You can also ask the province to notify you if there is any significant pesticide spraying in your area.

7. Protect yourself 

Here are a few ways to keep yourself safe when working with bees:

  • Make sure you, your family members, and close neighbours are not allergic to bee stings. Keep an Epi-pen on-site.

  • You may want to wear snug-fitting gloves until you are comfortable with bees.

  • It’s helpful to have a few clothing options on hand. You can get away with only a veil for light beekeeping (external inspections, feeding, etc.), but you’ll want a suit or jacket for full inspections. If you can afford it, look for a thick mesh suit because you won’t get stung, and they are cooler than the cotton ones. Rubber boots are good as well, especially if you have poison ivy in your beeyard.

Another important consideration is liability insurance. Even if you are just giving away your honey, your home insurance won’t likely cover you. Check with your insurer about your coverage. You may want to take advantage of OBA’s affordable group insurance to protect your personal assets.


Start Beekeeping in 10 Steps, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


8. Watch and learn 

While courses, books, and discussions with other beekeepers are all critical in building expertise and confidence, simply paying attention to what is going on in your hives is equally important. Spend time in your beeyard. You can learn a lot by watching, listening and smelling. Take your time when doing inspections, making comparisons and watching for changes. 

9. Keep notes 

As you pay close attention to your bees, keep notes on what you are seeing and doing. Some beekeepers keep a journal to track what’s in bloom, the weather conditions, actions they took, what they learned, mistakes they made, and questions they have. Some use a calendar to remind them to make timely interventions. 

There are also some excellent smartphone apps that you can take into the beeyard that provide a framework for what to look for during inspections. 


Start Beekeeping in 10 Steps, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


10. Enjoy the process!

Take the time to have fun with beekeeping and give yourself a break when you make mistakes. Beekeeping is one of the most enjoyable and interesting activities, but even seasoned beekeepers will tell you that it’s forever a work-in-progress. Do your best, keep learning, keep going, and have fun! Good luck!

Farming TopicsHorse Topics 16 July 2021

10 Tips for Horse Trail Riding

Each spring when the warm weather returns and horse enthusiasts get excited about riding the trails again, many wind up getting dumped on their first ride of the season. When your horse is well prepared, trail rides go much better.

Are you a new rider and wondering how to get started with trail riding? Here are my 10 favourite tips to help you and your horse get ready this year.

Re-establish the riding routine

If you’ve been off your horse for weeks or months, a trail ride is not the best way to return to the saddle. Horses learn and remember well, but they get rusty just like us when we haven’t done something in a while. 

Establish a regular riding routine to re-train your horse’s responses and respectfulness. Start getting your horse accustomed to riding by reintroducing things slowly. When you’re on the trail, additional distractions like other horses will test your control of your mount. 

Deal with any horse issues

If you run into specific problems in your schooling rides, deal with them in the arena or close to home before you go out on a trail. Is your horse being resistant or bullying you? Take steps to correct their behaviour and don’t make excuses for them.


10 Tips for Horse Trail Riding, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Practise easy trails

Explore your own area first with a trusted companion or two. Let your horse get used to being next to, in front, and behind another horse. Then practise being a few horse-lengths behind, which is a tough one. Practise crossing water, stepping over logs, and going up and down hills. Work out any problems in a controlled environment before you attempt new trails your horse has never seen before.

Be realistic about your horse’s abilities

Is your horse ready for the type of ride you want to do? Maybe he’s not and he would benefit from more training in the arena and on practice rides.

Gear up with proper equipment

You might want to consider special gear to help your ride go smoother:

  • A breast collar and a back cinch can prevent saddle slippage that might alarm your horse or unseat you

  • A well-adjusted running martingale will help keep your reins in place during a bumpy part of a ride 

  • A mecate-rein setup or a longe line tucked into your saddlebag can help your horse relax 

Pick good riding partners

Ride only with friends who know proper trail manners and can control their horses.


10 Tips for Horse Trail Riding, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Ride in good weather

A calm, sunny day is the ideal weather for a trail ride. Riding in windy weather can make normally calm, well-mannered horses flighty. Why is this? Wind makes it hard for prey animals (like horses) to tell where scents are coming from. This causes them to feel extra vulnerable and jittery.

Prep right before the ride

Right before you head out on a trail ride, work your horse in a round pen and put them through some groundwork exercises. The “longeing for respect” technique is the ideal method here. You can also ride him in an arena to work any extra energy out and get him paying attention to you.

Stay connected with your horse

Good trail riding is not just taking a relaxing ride. You want to keep your horse’s attention focused on you by continually asking them for small adjustments: speed up a bit here, collect yourself there, sidepass to avoid a rock. If you can keep your horse connected to you at all times, you’ll be able to avoid most problems before they start.

Stay relaxed but in control 

You want to stay alert, but also loose and relaxed. If you hang on the reins very defensively, it’ll just make your horse tense. Sit deep in the saddle, shrug your shoulders back, relax your muscles, and keep your breathing regular. If you need to deal with any nervousness you feel at any point, take a few deep breaths, hum, or talk reassuringly to yourself and your horse.

Happy trails!

Farming TopicsHorse Topics 15 July 2021

10 Tips for Horse Care

One of my great passions in life is horses. For those of us who love these animals and are privileged to take care of them, it’s important to do our best to keep them healthy and happy, both mentally and physically. 

Are you wondering how to best care for your horse? Here are some of my favourite horse care tips.

Feed your horse well

Fresh pasture is the best option. If it’s not available, hay is the next best thing. These are the most important sources of nutrition for horses. The best hay is fine-stemmed, soft, green and leafy. Try to avoid hay that is excessively sun-bleached or smells mouldy, musty, or dusty. 

Keep a salt lick or mineral block in the paddock.

Get supplementary feed if necessary

Horses that work on a regular basis may need supplementary feed if they are losing condition. If that’s the case, consult your veterinarian for suitable supplementary feeds. It’s important that horses get enough Omega-3 to retain a shiny coat.


10 Tips for Horse Care, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Make sure your horse has enough water

It’s crucial to always have fresh, clean water available because dehydration can contribute to poor health and can even be deadly. The water should be clean because unhygienic water can hold bacteria or viruses that can make horses sick. Remember to clean your troughs and waterers frequently.

One trick for keeping water clean is adding some apple vinegar.

Give your horse enough exercise

Daily exercise is essential for your horse’s physical and mental health. A daily workout increases stamina and endurance, keeps the heart and lungs working strong, and maintains proper bone and hoof development. A very basic exercise routine includes warming up, stretching, a workout exercise, and a cool-down.


10 Tips for Horse Care, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Give your horse company

Not only do we want to care for our horse’s physical health, but we also want to keep them healthy mentally. Giving a horse some animal companions is the best thing you can do for their mental health. Because they are herd animals, they need the companionship of another horse, donkey, mule or pony, or even a sheep or goat. You can keep the animals together in the same paddock or in a neighbouring paddock.

If you keep a horse with older and experienced horses, it may help her overcome her fears and problems when hacking.

Groom your horse every day

Grooming is a very important part of horse care, but it’s much more than just brushing a horse. It requires knowledge, attention, and care. Spending money on good-quality grooming equipment will help your horse maintain a healthy coat.

A quick grooming every day helps increase your horse’s blood circulation, and it gives you the chance to check your horse’s body, especially the parts that will come into contact with tack.


10 Tips for Horse Care, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Give your horse enough room in the stable

Because horses spend some of their time inside stalls, make sure your barns, sheds, and stalls are designed well. Check that all your stalls, fences, windows, doors, walls and ceilings are free of any dangers to your horse. 

You also want to give your horse enough room to be comfortable. The Canadian Agri-Food Research Council recommends a loose box should be between 3 m x 3 m and 3.6 m x 3.6 m for an average size horse. Horses appreciate the extra room to move around, so give them as much space as you can.


10 Tips for Horse Care, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Keep the paddock in good shape

Whether our horses are inside or outside, we want to keep the surroundings free from hazards like rusty farm machinery or dangerous objects. In a paddock, we should watch our fences for holes or loose wires and repair them regularly to prevent horses from getting injured and escaping.

Learn to ride well

If you ride your horse, learn to ride properly by attending a riding club or taking regular riding lessons. Your priority should be to take precautions for a safe ride for both you and your horse. After each outing, spend some time caring and rewarding your horse.

Invest in the best equipment you can afford

Buying the proper riding equipment keeps you safe and prevents harm to your horse. When you are looking at various equestrian clothes and gear, consider quality and durability. It’s always best to buy the highest quality equipment you can afford within your budget. 

Farming Topics 14 July 2021

Market Gardening in Grey & Bruce

Are you interested in starting a market garden in Grey or Bruce County? Market gardening is very common in our region and we’d love to have you join us! Here is some information to help you get started.

What can I grow in Grey/Bruce?

Our growing season here in Grey or Bruce counties typically begins mid-May and ends in late October. You should be able to grow most of your favourite fruits and veggies here, especially if you’re growing perennial crops.

Market gardeners in the area are growing lots of different vegetables, including lettuce/greens, peas, spinach, radish, beans, beets, carrots, green onions, potatoes, swiss chard, zucchini, pak choy, summer squash, cucumbers, dill, tomatoes, basil, sweet corn, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnips, onions, leek, turnips, winter squash, kale, brussel sprouts, pumpkins, and melons.


Grey and Bruce County Market Gardening, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


Where can I sell my food in Grey/Bruce?


Grey and Bruce County Market Gardening, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?

Community Supported Agriculture is a way for customers to support local farmers by buying a share of the harvest at the beginning of the growing season. This helps farmers plan for the growing season and gives customers a weekly supply of vegetables. 

Many Grey and Bruce market gardens offer CSA shares, including Sideroad Farm (Walter’s Falls), Saugeen River CSA (north of Durham), Persephone Market Garden (north of Alvanley), Black Sheep Farm (near Chesley), and Twin Creeks Farm (near Woodford).

Where can I find other market gardens in Grey/Bruce?

Harvest Moon Farm (part of Good Family Farms, south of Meaford) is another market garden in Grey County, and you can find more market garden listings on Grey County’s website.

Farming Topics 13 July 2021

How to Make Your Own Chicken Tractor

Are you a homesteader, farmer, or hobby farmer who’s raising chickens? The chicken tractor is a must-have. It’s a cheap agricultural upgrade that is beneficial to both you and your flock. You can fertilize your soil, control slug and insect pests, provide access to food at all times to your chickens, keep them safe from predators, and avoid damage to the rest of your yard or your neighbours’ property. 

Every day or two, you move your chicken tractor across the field to constantly change the grass and vegetation your birds eat. They leaving nutrient-rich manure behind as they go, fertilizing your field.

There are lots of chicken tractor plans available online for small or big flocks built with anything from recycled materials to new wood and painted with pretty colours or left in their natural condition.

Not sure how where to start with a chicken tractor? Here are few tips to help you choose a design when building your own.


How to Make Your Own Chicken Tractor, Grey and Bruce County farming, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


What are the basic components of a chicken tractor?

The basic structure of a chicken tractor consists of the coop and the run. The coop can be a square box that has sufficient space to house your hens. Large fowl need 4 sq. ft./bird and bantams 2 sq. ft./bird. You could crowd more birds in, but that would encourage anti-social behaviours that will be hard to break and may lead to flock injuries.

If you live in an area with very hot summers, make sure your design has enough shade available in the coop, along with ventilation.

How should I make the floor of the coop?

In many chicken tractor plans, the floor of the coop is the ground itself. Chickens poop mostly at night, and it can be deposited straight onto the ground. However, some people prefer a solid base to the coop you can lock the hens up at night and keep them safe from a bear or raccoon. 

When moving an open-bottom tractor, the hens need to get used to moving with the coop and it usually only takes a couple of moves before they get the hang of it. With a fully enclosed coop, you can pick everything up and move it easily.


How to Make Your Own Chicken Tractor, Grey and Bruce County farming, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How should I make the run/pen area?

Your run needs to be large enough to accommodate large fowl with at least 8 sq. ft./bird and bantams 4 sq. ft./bird, but more room is always better. The run also needs to be tall enough so you can hang out the feeder and drinker where the hens can’t poop in them (on the ground).

What size should I make the chicken tractor?

Plan the size of your chicken tractor based on the number of hens and how much space they need (as described above). For example, 4 large hens will need 4 sq. ft of space each in the coop, so you will need 16 sq. ft of floor space. That could be designed as a square box that is 4 ft. x 4 ft.

How easy should it be to move the chicken tractor?

Tractors should to be sturdy and well built, which usually means that are quite heavy to move. A 4 x 4 coop box and a run may not sound large, but if you are pulling or pushing it, it will be quite heavy, especially up or down slopes.

Almost all tractor plans have wheels or can be hitched up to a small tractor or a utility vehicle. In practice, these tractors will move similar to a wheelbarrow, a rickshaw, or with real or mechanical horsepower.

If you prefer a more lightweight design, you will need to have some way to anchor it into place. Wind storms and large predators may be able to flip or dismantle a lightweight tractor made from materials like PVC pipe and chicken wire.


How to Make Your Own Chicken Tractor, Grey and Bruce County farming, Markdale Real Estate, Grey Highlands Real Estate


How easy should it be to clean the chicken tractor?

Just like a regular coop, the coop in a chicken tractor will need to be cleaned. The access area needs to be large enough for you to work in. Some coop designs have a “lift” side that is helpful for cleaning and egg removal.

How do I make a chicken tractor secure?

The tractor should keep your flock safe. The building itself should be made from durable materials that can deal with the sun, wind, and rain. If it’s made from wood, it should be painted for protection.

If you lock your coop, it should be designed to keep out a 3-year-old child (which would also keep out a raccoon).

Any windows should be covered with wire mesh or hardware cloth, not chicken wire. Chicken wire is designed to keep chickens in, but it will not keep predators out. The run should also be covered with hardware mesh.