APAS updates estimate on farm cost of carbon tax

Grain drying, transportation, heating and electricity could cost 
a 5,000 acre grain farm an extra $8,000- $10,000 this year

Saskatchewan farmers could lose, on average, eight percent of their total net income this year due to the carbon tax, according to numbers from the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.

Those losses will grow to 12 percent when the carbon price rises to $50 per tonne in 2022.

APAS said federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau wanted evidence of how the carbon tax is impacting farmers and its research shows the reality.

The figures are based on a 5,000-acre grain farm, and consider all major farm expenses that aren’t exempt from the tax, such as grain drying, transporting crops off the farm, rail costs and heating and electricity.

The organization said this will cost the farm between $8,000 and $10,000 this year, and between $13,000 and $17,000 in 2022.

APAS vice-president Bill Prybylski said he has been drying grain continually since September, with the exception of during the January cold snap.

“It’s still going as we speak,” he said Feb. 3. “I can say on my farm it has cost about $1,400 in carbon tax on propane.”

And there will be more to do since he has unharvested crop in the field.

Prybylski said farmers appreciate the exemption on farm fuel but the tax on everything else directly impacts their bottom lines. Now that Bibeau has some numbers to back up what farmers have been saying, he hopes she “can do something to mitigate the hurt we’re feeling.”

Commodity prices are down, crop is still out in the field from last year and something has to be done quickly, he added.

“This would be a good place to start,” he said.

APAS has estimated the $20 per tonne carbon tax has cost $1.76 per acre in 2019, rising to $2.38 in 2020 and $3.80 by 2022.

Work is underway to estimate the costs to livestock producers.

“The biggest concern is this is money coming off of our bottom line but it’s not improving our yield or productivity,” said Prybylski, who farms near Willowbrook, Sask.

APAS has asked for a carbon tax exemption on all farm expenses, including 2019 costs. Grain Growers of Canada and others have also called for exemptions at least on grain drying after the “harvest from hell.”

Bibeau maintains she has to build a case to convince cabinet colleagues.

In Manitoba, Keystone Agricultural Producers has estimated the carbon tax on drying corn at $1.7 million.

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