LATEST VIDEOS FROM CTV REGINA
Sask. farmer says carbon tax hinders ability to be eco-friendly
Published Wednesday, April 3, 2019 5:07PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, April 3, 2019 6:19PM CST
The federal carbon tax is now in effect, and a Saskatchewan farmer said the extra cost will hurt his existing efforts to go green.
"We're no longer tilling our soil and we're leaving previous year’s crop residues on the surface and planting amongst the previous year stubble," Marcel Van Staveren said.
This process is called continuous cropping.
Another method, direct seeding, lets farmers plant directly into undisturbed soil. The Van Staveren farm and other farmers in the area began using these green, cost-effective techniques in the early 90's.
For more than 65 years the Van Staveren family has farmed near Creelman, southeast of Regina. While their roots lie with traditional farming, new practices have become their new norm.
With no stop in production, Van Staveren said the farm has strengthened its soil and quality of crop.
"After 25 years of managing soil carbon we know factually that we have improved dramatically,"
The federal carbon tax, which came into effect on April 1, allows Saskatchewan farmers to be exempt from taxes on fuel, but Van Staveren said farmers will still see heavy costs in other places. He is concerned that those added costs will discourage farmers from using cleaner systems, and remaining environmentally-focused.
“So anything that takes from our profit impedes our ability to embrace new alternatives that are better for the environment," Van Staveren said.
He said the tax will still affect shipping costs, and he is skeptical of any potential savings.
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association is echoing his words.
"We're looking at hundreds and hundreds and thousands of dollars on medium to large sized operations on extra costs incurred by this tax,” Bill Huber, President of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, said.
The federal government has maintained the carbon tax is designed to be an incentive, not a penalty for all Canadians, and that funds will be returned to the people of Saskatchewan.
Based on a report by CTV Regina's Kathryn Fraser and Stefanie Davis.