Saturday, August 27, 2022

Dissing the farm carbon tax

Agricultural economist John Groenewegen wrote an excellent, detailed article in Ontario Farmer recently outlining why the federal carbon tax does damage to Ontario's corn crop.

Ontario farmers are the only ones in the world who pay the carbon tax of $170 a tonne for inputs involved in corn production - mainly diesel fuel and nitrogen fertilizers.

But they compete for markets with farmers who don't face that cost.

Groenewegan said the politicians would be wiser to offer farmers subsidies to adopt practices that reduce carbon emissions.

Others have also called for similar policies, such as a subsidy to plant cover crops.

Will the politicians in Ottawa listen? No! Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has never listened when farmers have pointed out competitive disadvantages. 

Remember former U.S. president Donald Trump's $46 billion in farm subsidies in 2020, much to compensate for damage he caused by triggering a tariff war with China, then more billions to compensate for COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.

What did Bibeau offer? Some relatively piddling amount of extra money for federal-provincial risk management programs which went nowhere when the Prairies provinces objected to paying their share.

Farm policies under the Justin Trudeau Liberal government have been a disaster. Another example: multi-millions wasted on trade-related subsidies for dairy farmers whose quota values - the result of government policy - are more than $1 million per farm.

Help for corn farmers so they can contribute to reducing carbon emissions? Not with Bibeau-Trudeau.