Keystone Agricultural Producers is looking forward to learning more about how the $102 million Conservation Trust Fund announced in yesterday’s budget will be allocated, and the role farmers will play in in making investments on the rural landscape.
“We are hopeful that projects supported by the fund will include on-farm initiatives that deliver ecological goods and services to all Manitobans, including carbon sequestration and flood mitigation.”
The trust will be administered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, and Mazier said he is pleased with the arrangement.
“It’s an independent overseeing of the fund. We asked for transparency and here it is.”
Commenting on the exemption of marked fuels from the carbon tax, as well as emissions from livestock and crop production, Mazier said: “It’s a myth that farmers will be entirely exempt from the carbon tax. We know from the experience of farmers in other provinces that costs are passed on by the inputs and service suppliers that farmers rely on.
“Farmers don’t have the option to pass on costs as prices paid to farmers for their production are set globally, based on world market demand, so Manitoba prices cannot be altered to pass on additional production costs and taxes to customers. We are hopeful that the government recognizes these costs and makes the investments back into the sector to help farmers adapt to climate change, a measure not included in the current budget.”
Mazier note that heating fuels for greenhouses, grain dryers, and barns was not specifically identified as exempt from the carbon tax in the budget.
“We are hopeful that the government of Manitoba doesn’t make the same mistake that British Columbia did when it introduced their carbon tax and included it on space heating fuel. It saw a mass exodus of investment in their greenhouse sector south into the United States and was forced to create a rebate program the following year.”
Mazier said he is looking forward to more details on many of the budget announcements.
“For example, we are eager to learn more about the planned output-based system, but we are pleased that mid-sized emitters including oilseed crush facilities will have the option to be included.”
On another note, KAP is concerned about the increase in farmland assessment, which was not addressed in the budget. It means another unprecedented increase – in the range of 50 to 75 per cent – in municipal and school taxes for farmers.
“Farmers pay a disproportionate amount of education taxes, and we urge the government to conduct the K to 12 education review it has promised, including funding, as soon as possible,” Mazier said.
For more information
Dan Mazier, president – 204-720-4646
Val Ominski – communications – 204 -697-1140