How the 2021 Federal Budget will impact Saskatchewan farmers
REGINA -- The Federal government unveiled its long-awaited farmers budget on Monday. It included $101.4 billion in new spending, to support the country through the ongoing pandemic and stimulate the economic recovery post pandemic. It also included a number of spending measures that will directly impact Saskatchewan famers.
The budget included a plan to return a portion of the proceeds from the price on pollution to producers. This amounts to roughly $100 million in the first year, with returns in the following years “based on proceeds from the price on pollution collected in the prior fiscal year, and are expected to increase as the price on pollution rises.”
Todd Lewis, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said the $100 million is a significant amount, but there are still a lot of questions about how the money will be returned.
“What’s it going to be rebated on? Is it going to be grain drying? Building and heating - be it barns or farm shops? Transportation also has a big increase with the carbon tax,” said Lewis.
Lewis said Canada’s carbon pricing system has a direct impact on farmers’ bottom line.
“We’ve done some analysis and said that, by the time it gets to $170 a tonne, it will be $12 or more an acre for the average producer,” he said. “So, that’s a very significant cost.”
The budget also includes $50 million for the purchase of more efficient grain dryers for farmers.
“If it’s going to go toward a certain percentage on the purchase of a new dryer, that’ll be helpful to producers,” said Lewis. “We’ve seen with new dryers that there’s an improvement on the carbon footprint, much like a furnace in a home, the technology is always getting better.”
Jason Childs, University of Regina associate professor of economics, said these announcements are good news for Saskatchewan and there is something in the budget for pretty much everybody, but that comes at a cost.
“We’re spending money we don’t have. We’re consuming more than we produce, and you can only do that for so long,” said Childs