Grain farmers call for comprehensive fuel relief from carbon price
Grain Growers of Canada Grain farmers across Canada are asking the Government to provide additional relief from the Federal carbon pollution backstop given the impact it will have on their ability to compete in markets at home and around the world.
“The carbon price will add costs to farm inputs and to transporting our grains to market making it more expensive to be a grain farmer in Canada compared to our key competitors around the world,” said Jeff Nielsen, Grain Growers of Canada President. “Providing additional relief will not impact growers’ commitments to reducing GHG emissions. Growers are already doing that, and they will continue to work hard to grow more, with less.”
Grain growers have made significant improvements in their energy efficiency and are producing more grains with significantly lower GHG emissions. For example, modern plant science, agronomics and biotechnology have helped reduce the climate impact of Ontario corn by 37 per cent over the last 34 years. Canola growers have been able to use biotechnology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion kilograms, the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road.
“Grain farmers are part of the climate change solution,” said Saskatchewan grain farmer Doyle Wiebe. “Long before the Government put a price on carbon we have been working hard to reduce our emissions, sequestering carbon and innovating constantly to increase on-farm sustainability.”
Middle-class grain farmers sell into global markets and operate on narrow margins where every added cost has an impact on their competitiveness and ability to operate. Natural gas and propane are essential farm fuels, particularly during a wet fall like the one farmers are currently experiencing across Canada. The federal backstop includes relief for propane and natural gas used by greenhouse growers and grain growers are requesting to be given the same exemptions.
“We welcome the exemption for diesel and gas in the federal backstop,” said Markus Haerle, who farms in Ontario. “The Government must at a minimum go a step further and include relief for propane and natural gas used in grain dryers.”