Mr. Speaker, regarding part (a), according to data provided by provincial governments and industry groups, the estimated cost of carbon pollution pricing associated with grain drying increases the costs of farm operations by between 0.05% and 0.38% for an average farm.
Costs of drying grain will vary depending upon farm size, location, province, fuel used, grain type and other factors. Costs will also vary from year to year, with 2019 being wetter than usual in many provinces and, therefore, translating into higher than normal grain drying expenditures.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, AAFC, obtained estimates of the cost of drying grains, which have either been publicly released or which have been provided to AAFC by external sources, including producer organizations and provincial governments.
Each of these groups arrived at estimates of the cost of grain drying and of carbon pollution pricing associated with this activity using different underlying assumptions, which makes direct comparisons difficult. AAFC standardized the various estimates to arrive at more comparable results. For grain and oilseed farms, the average per-farm cost of carbon pollution pricing associated with grain drying was $210 in Alberta, $774 in Saskatchewan, $467 in Manitoba and $750 in Ontario.
Note that the analysis received from Alberta was based on their estimates of what the carbon pollution price would cost in the province. On June 1, 2019, Alberta repealed their own provincial carbon price fuel levy, and the federal fuel charge came into force on January 1, 2020. Therefore, Alberta farmers did not pay a federal carbon pollution price on their fuels used for grain drying during harvest in 2019.
AAFC provided further context to these estimates by relating them to information on net operating expenses. To do this, AAFC calculated the share of the cost of carbon pollution pricing associated with grain drying to overall net operating expenses for an average farm in each of the four provinces mentioned above. Net operating costs refer to all expenses, other than financing expenses and income taxes, incurred in the normal course of business, including cost of goods sold, selling and administrative expenses, and all other operating expenses. Data on net operating expenses was obtained from Statistics Canada’s agricultural taxation data program, or ATDP, which includes unincorporated and incorporated tax filer records used to estimate a range of financial agricultural variables. The financial variables disseminated by the ATDP include detailed farm revenues and expenses as well as farm and off-farm income of farm families.
Relating the estimates above to the value of net operating costs implies that the average per-farm cost of carbon pollution pricing associated with grain drying in 2019 was 0.05% of net operating costs in Alberta, 0.18% in Saskatchewan, 0.10% in Manitoba and 0.38% in Ontario.
Some variation still remains despite standardization. The estimates for Alberta and Saskatchewan are based on historical averages and, therefore, could be considered estimates for an average year in those provinces. The estimates for Manitoba and Ontario are based on 2019, a wet year, and therefore could be considered estimates for a year with higher-than-normal moisture levels.
AAFC assessed the costs of the federal carbon pollution pricing fuel charge in 2018. That assessment is publicly available at: https://multimedia.agr.gc.ca/pack/pdf/carbon_price_presentation-eng.pdf.
Regarding part (b), the above results show that the estimated costs of carbon pollution pricing to oilseed and grain farms amount to less than 0.5% of net operating expenses for 2019. This is for a hypothetical average farm. The financial impact on individual farms will depend on a myriad of factors, including the quantity of grain harvested, the type of grain produced, the share of grain drying done on farm versus at the elevator, the fuel used in grain drying, prices of fuel and the moisture level of crop at harvest, among other individual farm factors.
In addition, the agriculture sector receives significant relief under the federal carbon pollution pricing system compared to other sectors of the economy. The federal carbon pollution pricing system includes relief for farm activities that represents a significant part of the total cost of production that would otherwise impact their competitiveness. Thus, gasoline and diesel fuel used by farmers for agricultural activities is exempt from the fuel charge, and biological emissions, for example, from livestock, manure and fertilizer application, are not priced. Recognizing that greenhouse heating fuel consumption for year-round operations represents a significant cost of production, the system also provides significant relief of 80% for natural gas and propane used by commercial greenhouse operators. Natural gas and propane use for heating, for barns and grain drying, are not exempted under the federal fuel charge as it was not considered a significant cost of production for an average grain and oilseed farm.
Regarding part (c), the purpose of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that carbon pollution pricing applies broadly throughout Canada.
All direct proceeds from the federal carbon pollution pricing system are returned to the jurisdiction of origin. In Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the majority of the direct proceeds from the federal fuel charge are returned directly to households through climate action incentive payments.
AAFC assessed the costs of the federal carbon pollution pricing fuel charge in 2018. That assessment is publicly available at https://multimedia.agr.gc.ca/pack/pdf/carbon_price_presentation-eng.pdf.
Regarding part (d), Farm Credit Canada has not conducted analysis or studies on the impact of the carbon pollution pricing on the income of farmers.