Fuel for heating barns and drying grain to be exempt from Manitoba carbon tax

The Manitoba government has decided it will not apply a carbon tax to fuels used for heating or cooling barns and greenhouses or to run grain dryers — an exemption that was not announced when the Pallister government rolled out its carbon pricing plan last fall.

The province originally said farm diesel and gasoline would be exempt from the carbon tax that is scheduled to take effect in September, but the government had not indicated whether the exemption would be extended to fuel for heating and drying grain.

Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler confirmed the exemption for fuels used to heat or cool agriculture-related facilities, including greenhouses and barns, late last week.

“We know that livestock is about 50/50 with our grain markets, and when we look at what it means for the overall economy of Manitoba, it was pretty clear that to keep them competitive with other agricultural producers across Canada and on the world stage, we had to move forward with the exemption,” he says in the interview below. “It was a fairly easy decision, but one we had to find a balance on.”

The exemption will not apply to barns or dryers that share a meter with a house or a non-ag building.

“The barn would have to be metered separately…they may have to put a separate meter in,” he notes.

Minister Eichler took some time while visiting the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon on Monday to discuss the following — listen below:

  • the carbon tax exemption for on-farm heating and cooling, and how it will work;
  • how large emitters who can pass on indirect costs to farmers, such as the fertilizer plant in Brandon, will be affected by the carbon tax;
  • how the possibility of parties opposed to the carbon tax forming government in Ontario and Alberta impacts Manitoba’s plans to implement the federally-mandated carbon tax.

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Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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