Saskatchewan

Western Canadian Wheat Growers seek carbon tax exemption on grain drying

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Chair Jim Wickett says this year's harvest has been bad enough already without farmers facing carbon pricing.

More farmers are using grain drying techniques to salvage their crops after a wet growing season

Farmers forced to dry their grain after a wet season are contending with the new carbon tax on top of other expenses. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers are asking for a tax exemption on grain drying following this year's poor, wet harvest.

Members of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers (WCWG) say the additional tax imposed as part of carbon pricing will put grain producers in a bind following the low yield and tough growing season.

Jim Wickett, chair of the WCWG, farms in the Rosetown area. He said combines were still out in the fields on Wednesday despite the cold and the snow.

He said his organization is asking wheat producers to share how much they have paid in additional tax on grain drying as a result of carbon pricing. This comes after the swearing in of the new federal cabinet in Ottawa.

The organization created a petition called "NoFarmCarbonTax" and sent a letter to the federal ministers of agriculture and environment.

Wickett said the year's harvest has been awful, and that producers were shocked to see a spike in what it costs to dry their grain.

Many of the crops that have been harvested are wet and in poor condition, said Wickett. He said this year could be a disaster for a number of farmers.

"It's going to put some guys under. There's no doubt about it" said Wickett.

Even with crop insurance, he said, farmers across the prairies could be in dire straits.

"It's only 70 per cent, most of the time, of what an average harvest is. So take yourself, cut your wage by 30 per cent and keep paying your bills and see how things work out," said Wickett.

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