Ottawa – Farmers who are upset with the extra cost imposed on them by the carbon tax on grain drying fuels now have an internet website where they explain can just how it affecting their bottom line.
Harvestfromhell.ca has been launched by Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) to enable grain, oilseed and pulse producers a place to tell their story in hopes the message might get through to the federal government. The website will also feature infographics and videos that speak to the urgency of the situation and can be easily shared via social media.
On the same day as the website was launched, Ontario Conservative MP Philip Lawrence from Northumberland-Peterborough South presented the Commons with a private member’s bill to extend carbon tax exemptions to cover propane and natural gas used in grain dryers. While the bill still has to be accepted for debate in the Commons, both the New Democrats and Green Party have endorsed the proposed exemption.
GGC Chairman Jeff Nielsen said there is broad support “for immediate relief from the carbon tax for farmers after the disaster that was last year’s harvest. We now need our federal government to step up.”
Considering that farmers across the country have to use grain dryers on the crop they have been able to harvest so far, the federal government should directly reimburse them for “the millions of extra dollars they have paid to dry their grain as a result of the carbon tax,” he said.
“The most appropriate solution for both farmers and the government is to completely exempt all fuels used in farming operations from the carbon tax,” he said. “A full fuel exemption will avoid the need for any future relief measures after events like last year’s harvest.”
GGC is working with its member groups to compile data and share the real cost of the carbon tax with Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. This is why we have launched harvestfromhell.ca. It is an important avenue for farmers to demonstrate the burden that the carbon tax has inflicted on their operations.”
In a separate statement, the Atlantic Grains Councils, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Producteurs de grains du Quebec and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association also called on the federal government to provide relief from the carbon tax burden on grains and oilseed farmers immediately.
They said the carbon tax on grain drying alone will be $100 million by 2022 in 2022. Grain farmers have no choice but to dry wet grain before they market it and the only available fuel is either propane or natural gas as there are no viable alternatives.
The four groups said the accumulative indirect inflation of carbon tax on farm costs is estimated to be $14.50 an acre with that cost escalating by more than double in 2022 to almost $30 an acre. The cost for rail and truck freight for shipping grain and fertilizer as well as fertilizer itself are all subject to the carbon tax and each one of these suppliers will pass along their carbon tax bill to farmers to pay. The additional costs of the carbon tax cannot be passed along the value chain. Farmers will be paying that tax and the tax on their suppliers out of their own pockets.
“The carbon tax on grain drying needs to be eliminated immediately,” said GFO Chairman Markus Haerle. “Grain farmers need the government to reimburse the carbon tax bill for grain drying from 2019, farmers have no alternative fuel for grain drying and cannot afford to pay it in the face of historical low commodity markets.”