on farm bureaucracies and libertarianism

today we learned that a sizeable grant we had banked on wasn’t going to materialize.

it’s a good lesson in not counting your chickens before they hatch.. or not ordering your windbreak saplings before the department gives you a very official go ahead. over the years, we’ve both become pretty anti-grant, p. and i, as they usually end up distracting people from their original, intended goals (whether or not they get the grant), but after a handful of government people told us we’d surely get funds to plant these windbreaks, we figured it was simple and worth our time. so we went ahead and ordered several thousands of dollars in tree saplings to plant 1km of thick windbreak.

an expensive mistake.


this news is the latest in a string of frustrating bureaucratic mishaps. like that time we needed to register animals with one government body, but were unable to do so before having a farm registration number, which we couldn’t get until we proved we were a working farm with animal registration numbers. or the times that agronomists agreed that winter bale grazing is a great idea when you practice intensive rotational grazing with well-fenced waterways, but still tell you you need a wintering site and manure spreader because although the department of agriculture is unofficially down with it, the department of environment is not. or that time you almost didn’t manage to register your baby’s birth on time because a government department mistook your partner’s last name for his first name, which meant he didn’t exist so couldn’t well be the father of said new baby.  or that time you were told that as young farmers you were eligible for considerable establishment funds but not until you turn a hefty profit on that new farm. or that time revenue québec withheld considerable gst/qst moneys because your partner’s last name was misspelt on an invoice from a contractor, but the department of agriculture has your partner’s last name mispelt in exactly the same way.

i don’t know if running a small business is this hard in all parts of this country, but i would argue that a province can choose to either have oodles of regulations and rules AND provide assistance for individuals and their businesses to exist within the confines of those rules, OR they can have few regulations, provide little assistance and let folks do their own thing. having endless regulations / departments / guidelines / processes AND providing no clear way of navigating those systems and demands makes actually running a business very hard.

i am a social democrat to the core, but since moving to this farm, i have started to understand the pull of libertarianism. (some parts of it, anyway.)


on the bright side, the brassicas are up and their heart shaped wings are stupendous.

(no government department can take away the joy of gazing at flourishing seedlings)



Une réflexion sur “on farm bureaucracies and libertarianism

  1. I think it is worse in your particular province. I’ve been surprised many times by the many « infractions » (less onerous but still numerous) A. has received for weird things…. including having an « unlicensed cat » which the cat department cited after looking in through his living room window. It sounds like a massive headache on top of all the daily work of running a farm – hopefully it settles down after the initial startup phase is behind you.

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