Sask. farmers are among those individuals who will pay more for fuels
By Diego Flammini
Farming in some parts of Canada will get more expensive in a couple of weeks.
On Jan. 1, the federal carbon tax is increasing from $20 per tonne to $30 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government will gradually increase the tax on carbon until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022.
For producers in provinces like Saskatchewan, the rise in carbon pricing will result in more operating costs.
Farm customers are expected to pay an additional $60 per year in 2020, SaskPower estimates. That figure could be higher depending on energy consumption.
“While SaskPower has not increased rates in 2019, the Federal Carob Tax means all SaskPower customers will pay more each month,” Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for SaskPower, said in a Dec. 13. statement. “Saskatchewan’s Prairie Resilience climate change strategy establishes concrete steps toward meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions without the need for this harmful tax.”
Producers are displeased to see the carbon tax continue to rise.
If the 2020 harvest is anything like the 2019 harvest, farmers will be paying more than an extra $60 per year.
“I know a lot of farmers who couldn’t harvest one bushel without having to dry the grain,” Jocelyn Velestuk, a grower from Broadview, Sask., told Farms.com. “So, that’s an extra cost for a farmer and then paying a tax on that is just another expense that farmers have to absorb.”
Velestuk is also the president of the Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association.
Many producers in Saskatchewan have started to implement practices to hold carbon in the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, she said.
“The majority of the province has converted to direct seeding,” she said. “We know that in Saskatchewan we’re sequestering more carbon than we’re emitting as a whole, and we put more carbon in the ground every year than all the vehicles in Canada emit. We have that story to tell.”
The message farmers want to send to the federal government is simple, Velestuk says. Alterative methods of combatting climate change exist without simply enforcing a tax on Canadians.
“It’s not just about planting trees,” she said, referring to Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to plant two billion trees in the next decade. “We need to recognize what’s been done already and have programs and offset systems. I think that would be more effective than a tax.”
Farms.com has reached out to Sask. farm groups for comment.