Farm organizations from across the spectrum of Canadian agriculture welcomed the introduction of Bill C-234 in the House of Commons on Monday.
The private member’s bill sponsored by Ben Lobb, the Conservative MP for Huron-Bruce, would amend the federal government’s carbon pricing legislation to provide an exemption from the carbon tax for natural gas and propane used on-farm for grain drying, heating, and cooling livestock barns and greenhouses, steam flaking and irrigation.
A similar bill, Bill C-206, was approved by the House of Commons last summer, but was not fully approved by the Senate for Royal Assent prior to Parliament being dissolved for the October 2021 election.
What farm groups are saying:
“As a national coalition of industry-wide farm organizations, we are focused on prioritising practical solutions to ensure our farmers and ranchers can remain competitive and utilize the tools available to them where no alternative fuel sources exist. This Bill will provide economic relief for our members, freeing up the working capital they need to implement environmental innovations on farm.” — Dave Carey, Co-Chair of the Agriculture Carbon Alliance (which represents over a dozen national farm organizations).
“Producers across Canada are working every day to improve the sustainability of their operations. This continuous improvement is reliant on the commercialization of new viable on-farm technologies that come with significant capital expenses. This proposed legislation helps ensure farmers have the capital needed to make those investments and continue to realize the sector’s potential as climate solutions-providers.” – Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
“Having barn heating costs subject to the carbon price is especially challenging for producers given that they are responsible for the welfare of their animals. In Canada’s climate, producers have no choice but to manage the temperatures in barns to ensure the care of our animals.” – Rick Bergmann, Chair of Canadian Pork Council
“Canada’s grain farmers welcome the introduction of this bill and appreciate the exemptions included for critical on-farm activities – including grain drying. Through this relief from the carbon tax, our farmer members would have additional capital to invest in innovative technologies and sustainable practices that reduce emissions.” – Andre Harpe, Chair of Grain Growers of Canada
“Canadas hatching egg farmers represent an important segment of the poultry industry. Our farmers work hard to be at the forefront of innovation for sustainability while striving for efficiency at every opportunity. Bill C-234 will provide necessary support on farms to help alleviate financial pressures and ensure capital is available to reinvest in our farm operations to continuously improve our sustainability.” – Brian Bilkes, Chair of Canadian Hatching Egg Producers
“Canola farmers are committed to a sustainable future and have established production goals to support that commitment. I have made investments on my farm to retrofit my natural gas grain dryer, making it more energy efficient. While this is an important step, farmers today simply do not have viable fuel alternatives available for drying grain, which is why Bill C-234 is so important.” – Mike Ammeter, Chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association
“Beef farmers and ranchers are continuously looking at ways to environmentally improve operations and further contribute positively to Canada’s climate change objectives. Bill C-234 will provide the much needed exemptions for critical farming practices including heating and cooling of livestock barns and steam flaking.” – Bob Lowe, President of Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
“Canadian fruit and vegetable growers are committed to being a part of global climate solutions and the sustainability of their operations. We believe the support for farmers found in Bill C-234, will incentivize continued innovation, and recognizes that farmers need a range of feasible fuel and energy options. Ultimately, this will benefit the entire food value chain, including Canadian consumers.” – Jan VanderHout, President of Canadian Horticultural Council
“Canadian chicken farmers constantly advance our operations in order to improve bird health and welfare, and to ameliorate environmental stewardship and sustainability on the farm. Through the implementation of good production practices, chicken farmers are taking steps to ensure that our sector is environmentally sustainable for decades to come. We look to our partners in government and in the House of Commons to provide legislative and financial support for farmers so we can keep feeding Canadians.” – Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada
“Farmers continue to bear the brunt of the carbon tax – both paying the tax for on-farm fuel used for drying grains, and paying the increased costs added to necessary inputs and services as vendors try to recoup carbon costs at their end. This is not supportable for our already vulnerable food system. It’s time for all Members of Parliament, regardless of party, to champion food production, keep food costs affordable, and support rural communities and farms by swiftly passing Bill of C-234 through the House of Commons.” — Brendan Byrne, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario