Farmers, Farm Groups Oppose Increased Burden of Carbon Tax

Farmers and farm groups are voicing concerns about the impact the carbon tax announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have on farming and food production in Canada.

Trudeau said the government will require provinces meet a minimum federal price on carbon of $10 per tonne in 2018, rising to $50 per tonne in 2022. The provinces would retain control of how the revenues are used, and have until 2018 to implement their own policy.

In Saskatchewan, where Premier Brad Wall blasted the Prime Minister’s announcement, the president of the province’s general farm organization says his group is “categorically opposed to the federal imposition of a carbon tax on agricultural producers.”

“Federal decision-makers must understand that farmers cannot pass along increased costs from carbon taxes on our inputs to our customers, we just don’t set our prices. Agricultural is a low margin business and raising the price of our inputs simply reduces our margins and makes our farms less viable, without reducing carbon emissions,” says Norm Hall of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture points out the international competitiveness of Canadian farmers could take a hit, as some of the largest global competitors have no plans to implement carbon pricing.

“Farmers will require special consideration as the carbon pricing regulations take effect, due to the additional expenses they will incur,” notes CFA president Ron Bonnett.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, meanwhile, has launched a petition against the carbon tax.

“There is a lot of concern in the ag community about what this ends up looking like for the west and specifically for agriculture,” explains Wheat Growers president Levi Wood in the interview below.

Some farm groups, including Keystone Agricultural Producers in Manitoba and the CFA, are focusing their energy on helping design carbon programs that maximize the value of the sequestration that occurs on farms, possibly yielding a net benefit for farmers.

“That would be great. Everyone in ag wants to be a part of the conversation on how we frame this so it has the most positive impact that we can,” says Wood, who farms at Pense, Saskatchewan.

Wood joined us for an in-depth discussion about the potential impact of this carbon policy, the group’s petition, and the importance of conveying the positive environmental story of what’s already happening in Canadian agriculture:

 

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