Carbon Pricing and Farmers

Quick Facts

Issue Overview 

Farmers are stewards of the land, committed to preserving resources for generations to come. 

Canadian agriculture occupies a large and important part of the Canadian environment. The farm community is the chief steward and manager of extensive natural resources, owner and architect of much of the landscape and caretaker of precious soil resources. 

In its concern for the economic, environmental and social fabric of Canada, CFA believes that great importance should be placed on measures of environmental management to ensure maintenance of land resources which provide food for the people of Canada and a large part of the world’s population. 

Carbon pricing: Addressing competitiveness challenges 

Canadian producers are concerned about maintaining competitiveness as they face the prospect of higher costs for inputs due to carbon pricing. Machinery used for grain drying, livestock heating and cooling and irrigation are critical for mitigating the increasing on-farm impacts of climate change, including summer droughts and heat waves, and a shift towards rainfall during the autumn harvest months. 

Unfortunately, while climate impacts increase the need for farmers to rely on these tools, carbon pricing drives up their fuel price. With limited alternatives available, farmers are instead left to eat the cost of producing food for an increasing population in the face of economic and environmental uncertainty. Penalizing farmers for responding to environmental conditions that are out of their control leaves little money left over to invest in other sustainability efforts. 

Where fuel efficiencies can be made, we believe they should be done so through incentives like the carbon offset protocols and programs dedicated to funding producers for: 

CFA also believes that the Federal Government must recognize the value of other ecological goods and services besides just carbon sequestration. These services are delivered through activities such as wetlands stewardship, which provides flood management services; enhancing riparian areas and hillside, which provide soil erosion control; and conservation of ponds and lakes to provide recreational activities. Market-based mechanisms must be developed to value these services at the national level in order to help maintain these public benefits on private land. 

To learn more about CFA position on carbon offset credits and other environmental issues and initiatives, click here. 

Bill C-234 – Providing financial relief to farmers from carbon pricing 

Bill C-234, an Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, is a Bill aimed to provide relief to farmers from carbon pricing as the prices of crucial inputs such as fertilizer and fuel have risen dramatically over the past several years. 

Unfortunately, this Bill received amendments in the Senate which CFA is not supportive of, as it would exclude many farmers from the relief and would render the Bill ineffective. These amendments also reset the Bill’s progress to becoming legislation, moving it back to the House of Commons, delaying this much-needed relief. 

CFA, along with the Agriculture Carbon Alliance, has and will be advocating heavily in favor of passing the original version of the Bill for the benefit of farmers across Canada. 

Working towards solutions – Carbon pricing 

As farmers often have no alternatives to carbon-intensive practices, CFA has been pushing for farmers to have exemption for various fuels and uses such as grain drying and heating/cooling livestock barns.  

CFA is a founding member of the Agriculture Carbon Alliance, which advocates its support of the original form Bill C-234, which would add marketable natural gas/propane to the list of qualifying farm fuels to be exempt, as well as certain activities such as cooling/heating barns and greenhouses.  

CFA has been heavily involved in the consultation process around carbon pricing, to ensure this program does not place an undue burden on farmers. 

CFA recommendations – Carbon pricing