The federal carbon tax took effect Monday, much to the chagrin of people in Saskatchewan, in particular, agricultural producers.
Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel is a director with the Western Canadian Wheat Growers. She explained she is baffled by the tax, especially with how it is being implemented for farmers, and being implemented in a country which leads the world in environmental, sustainable practices when it comes to agriculture.
“I just can’t wrap my head around the logic behind that,” Jolly-Nagel said. She added more could have been done by farmers in the province to talk to the public and the government about what has been done over the past 20 years to make farming in Saskatchewan more environmentally-friendly.
While farm fuels are exempt under the carbon tax, at the same time, there are a number of expenses which farmers will be paying the carbon tax on, such as fertilizer, Jolly-Nagel explained.
“We require fertilizer to grow crops which are nutritious, and sold around the world”, she stated. “We can not out fertilizer applications; its a necessary part of farming today, and the carbon tax on fertilizer production will come back to the farmer.”
Other costs which will see the carbon tax applied, which will impact the bottom line of producers, is freight, as the carbon tax will now be factored in on the costs, as all agricultural products grown in Saskatchewan need to be shipped out of the province.
Unlike other businesses, farmers won’t be able to recoup the carbon tax by factoring it into their prices. Jolly-Nagel pointed to the fact all growers are subject to the market prices for their commodities, and she isn’t sure how many will be able to absorb the carbon tax.
While Jolly-Nagel would like to see the carbon tax scrapped overall, in the case it isn’t, she would like to see all agricultural producers exempt from the carbon tax, as it will make farming economically unsustainable in the future.
The carbon tax is currently being challenged in court by the Saskatchewan government over the constitutionality of how it is being applied across the provinces.