- Grain Growers of Canada - http://www.ggc-pgc.ca -

Sustainability

Sustainability is an evolving concept that can mean different things depending on the individual and sector. Sustainability coincides with public trust granted to operate concerning environmental, societal (labour rights), food quality and safety. To most farmers, it means constant improvement in production practices, technology, efficiency and leaving the land in better condition than they found it.

Grain, oilseed and pulse producers have adopted many techniques that reduce their environmental and ecological impact. These include:

Carbon

The Canadian cropping sector represents one of the most effective solar cells in the world. The process of continuous cropping under conservation tillage traps carbon in the soil in a process of sequestration, removing it from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse gasses (GHGs).

The announcement in fall 2016 of a Pan-Canadian Price on Carbon Pollution [4]put the onus on provinces to place a $50/tonne price on carbon by 2022. Several provinces have already established either carbon taxes or cap and trade programs. Effective February 2017, 80% of Canadians live under a carbon pricing regulation of some sort.

The members of Grain Growers of Canada do not support a price on carbon that will negatively affect the competitiveness of Canada’s grain farmers. Grain farmers are opposed to additional costs which cannot be passed on, must be absorbed into the cost of production and do not take into account the role of the industry in carbon mitigation.

Farmers are international price-takers and cannot pass on increased costs to their buyers. They effectively pay retail prices for inputs, and sell their product at wholesale while paying the freight both ways which is subject to the carbon price.

Concerns and issues for the grains sector include but are not limited to:

Added costs to shipping companies, suppliers, crop input companies, and retailers will be passed on to farmers, who in turn must absorb those costs. Any carbon pricing scheme must mitigate these risks and provide measures to ensure that programs that affect farmers are revenue neutral or re-invest in technological advancements that reduce climatic impact. Some provinces already have impact mitigation measures in place for agriculture producers, such as the fuel exemption in British Columbia and innovation investments in Alberta. We recommend that provinces look at these examples when they develop their own carbon pricing programs.

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