April 2, 2019 – For Immediate Release – The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is holding their annual policy conference in Saskatoon April 2 and 3, and the carbon tax is high on the agenda.
“Producers are concerned about the indirect costs of carbon taxation on their farming operations,” explained APAS President Todd Lewis. “Even though fuel used on farm is exempt, there are many additional costs that we will have to absorb, because we can’t pass the costs along to our consumers. These include trucking of crops and livestock, rail freight, heating of barns and grain drying, and production of inputs like fertilizer.”
“We do not have alternative modes of transportation or technologies or services that we can use to lower our exposure to these taxes,” Lewis continued. “We can’t choose not to heat our animal facilities or to not dry damp grain.”
Lewis also pointed out that many of these costs have still not been quantified. “The Federal Government will not release estimates of indirect cost impacts to our sector, so we have a limited understanding of the true costs of carbon pricing on our sector.” Lewis said.
APAS has done some preliminary research on potential impacts, and the costs are adding up. For example, Saskatchewan producers are located far from markets and transportation costs are already high. Starting April 1, APAS calculates rail freight at about $1 per acre which will increase when the tax rises, and the organization is still trying to figure out the cost of trucking crops, livestock and inputs.
Lewis concluded that producers are frustrated because they are doing their best to reduce energy costs, and as a sector, are major contributors to sequestration and management of carbon.
“It seems unfair that the Federal government will include our contribution to carbon sequestration when they total everything up but choose to ignore it when it comes time to show recognition,” he said.