I am writing to you as the President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and a dedicated farmer from Tisdale, Saskatchewan. As the Canadian Senate considers the merits of Bill C-234, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, I want to encourage each of you to support this Bill given its implications for Saskatchewan’s agricultural community, and farm families across Canada.
Innovation has been the cornerstone of our agricultural practices. Long before climate change and emissions reductions became national priorities, farmers in Saskatchewan were making significant progress towards reducing CO2 emissions and increased carbon sequestration in soils. The transition to zero-till farming, undertaken without government direction, stands as a testament to our commitment to both environmental stewardship and economic viability. However, it often goes unnoticed how this practice continues to make substantial contributions to Canada's environmental efforts. As the merits of Bill C-234 are discussed, we should ask ourselves if we have fully quantified the economic value of this gift and how it compares to the relief this Bill will provide to our farming community.
Agricultural production faces significant hurdles that must be overcome in the effort to replace current fuel sources with greener alternatives. Many farms have already transitioned to cleaner alternatives like natural gas and blended fuels, but there is a lack of infrastructure and technological development to support the adoption of newer, greener energy sources.
The unique environmental conditions and vast geography of our region pose challenges for technologies like hydrogen, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal. While these alternatives may hold promise, they cannot match the reliability of existing sources, especially during extreme weather conditions.Saskatchewan farmers embrace innovation and will continue to adapt and contribute to a greener future.
The issue of grain drying is of particular concern. Ideally, we would not need to dry a single bushel of grain, rendering the taxation of energy use for this purpose irrelevant. Unfortunately, this is not our reality, and the carbon tax simply imposes an additional financial burden during a challenging time in the production season. I believe that this unintended consequence of the carbon pricing policy is something that Bill C-234 seeks to address.
Farmers are driven by a deep commitment to environmental stewardship because we want our farms to be better, more productive, and more sustainable for the generations that follow us. This legacy is what truly matters to us. However, we cannot be bound by policies that diminish our capacity to invest in the very solutions you wish us to pursue. Shifting to cleaner energy sources is a costly and gradual process and penalizing us for our reliance on fossil fuels at this stage is neither practical nor appropriate.
In conclusion, on behalf of Saskatchewan farm and ranch families, I encourage you to vote in favor of Bill C-234 and I remain hopeful that our shared dedication to a greener future will guide us towards informed and equitable decisions.