The Western Canadian Wheat Growers is encouraging farmers to share their energy bills
By Diego Flammini
A Prairie farm organization is calling on all Canadian farmers to share how much the federal carbon tax is affecting their operating costs.
The Western Canadian Wheat Growers (WCWG) launched its No Farm Carbon Tax petition on Wednesday. Farmers are encouraged to add their names to the document. The organization will send the petition to the federal ministers of agriculture, environment and climate change.
An additional element of the petition asks farmers to disclose how much the carbon tax contributes to their monthly energy bills.
The organization will keep a running tally of the carbon tax portion of bills and share that information with federal ministers.
“In some instances, the carbon tax results in as much as 43 per cent of extra costs on top of what the monthly bill would’ve been without the tax,” Gunter Jochum, president of WCWG, told Farms.com. “That’s not sustainable.”
Maryam Monsef, Canada’s new minister of rural economic development, should also be monitoring the situation, Jochum said.
“Does (Canada) want farmers to be profitable and keep farming?” he said. “Farmers are the ones living and working in rural Canada, and the carbon tax is going to eat away at any profits farmers could’ve used to reinvest or spend in rural communities.”
Part of the frustration related to the carbon tax is a lack of fuel options.
The tax applies to propane and natural gas, which are the two primary resources used for grain drying.
Without any alternatives, farm costs will continue to increase.
“There’s no other option for us to switch to,” Jochum said. “The federal government is taxing us to get us to use a different source (of energy), but there isn’t one. We can’t dry grain with solar panels, so our expenses go up.”
The carbon tax could also affect ag exports.
The federal government has set a goal of exporting $75 billion of agricultural goods by 2025.
But if Canadian farmers are paying more to produce their crops, it could price Canada out of export opportunities, Jochum said.
“We can’t compete on global markets if we’re saddled with extra costs compared to places like the U.S. and Australia where they don’t have a carbon tax,” he said.