Ag organizations call for a policy that supports carbon management, rather than tax penalties for producers
By Kate Ayers
Canadian farmers should not be penalized by a carbon tax, according to the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
The ag organizations believe producers should be recognized for their contributions to mitigating climate change, APAS and Wheat Growers releases said yesterday. So, the groups support “the province’s request to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal for clarification on the constitutionality of the federal carbon law,” Todd Lewis, APAS president, said in the release.
“Our members strongly believe that carbon taxes do not work for agriculture,” Lewis said.
“Producers are not able to pass along increased costs of production to our customers. We use every possible technology to reduce our energy costs, and the federal government has not been very clear on its understanding of this basic agricultural economic reality.”
Levi Wood, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association president, agrees.
“Saskatchewan growers are the most efficient, productive and environmentally friendly growers in the world; our farms are our livelihood, our legacy and we have focused on sustainable crops for generations,” he said in a release from the association yesterday.
“Now the federal government is attempting to force a carbon tax on us, raising our costs and impacting middle-income farmers.”
Agricultural land sequesters millions of tonnes of carbon through the soil and plants. So, APAS and Wheat Growers say that climate change policy should compensate producers for this carbon management instead of imposing tax penalties.
“If we can get recognition for some of the practices we use, in terms of carbon sequestration, it could help the entire country meet its climate goals,” Lewis said to Farms.com today.
A carbon tax would reduce Saskatchewan’s competitiveness in the global market, Wheat Growers said. And producers would end up bearing higher production and transport costs.
The tax “will come off our bottom lines,” Lewis said.
“Agriculture is a low margin business and we can’t afford anything that affects our bottom line like that. We won’t be able to invest in our businesses.”
The Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, for example, recognizes the potential of agriculture to sequester atmospheric carbon. The strategy also avoids added farm costs that don’t help to achieve national greenhouse gas reduction targets, APAS said.
“Current Federal Carbon Backstop legislation would only apply to a handful of provinces but would impact 40 per cent of Canada’s farmland here in Saskatchewan,” Lewis said in the release.
“We have many concerns about how federal law could negatively impact our farmers and ranchers.”