Carbon tax ignores reality for farmers: Sask. agricultural producers

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WATCH: The Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan says the carbon tax announced by Ottawa on Tuesday ignores the realities farmers face. Rebekah Lesko has more, including a harvest update, in Your Agriculture.

The president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) said the federal government’s carbon tax rebate and exemption system ignores the economic realities of Saskatchewan farmers.

Earlier this week, Ottawa announced a federal backstop carbon pollution pricing system for Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

READ MORE: Harvest nears completion in Saskatchewan

A fuel charge will be implemented next April, however farmers will receive an exemption from the charge for fuels used in tractors, trucks and other farm machinery.

The tax will be imposed on other farm inputs, such as fuel for road and rail transportation, as well as for natural gas and propane.

“We have to transport our crops and livestock to our customers around the world, and in difficult years like 2018, we have to use energy to dry grain or it will rot. We have to heat livestock buildings or animals freeze. We have no choice,” APAS president Todd Lewis said.

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Lewis said farmers don’t have the option to pass extra costs down the value chain.

“It’s just going to come off our bottom line,” Lewis said.

“A customer in Indonesia or Australia or Japan, they don’t care about the carbon tax; they’re buying at a world price. If we can’t sell at a world price, they’ll find another part of the world that will supply the world price so we can’t pass those costs along.”

READ MORE: Confused about carbon taxes and rebates? Here’s what you need to know

The federal government said it plans to increase the rebate for residents of small and rural communities by 10 per cent due to increased energy needs and fewer transportation options.

Before the rural increase, a single adult would receive $305, with $152 for a second adult in a couple, which would also be the amount for the first child in a single-parent household. Each family would receive $76 for each child, or a second child in the case of a single-parent household.