WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Grain producers in Manitoba, Canada, are looking for financial relief after data put together by several groups determined the producers in the region are paying a significant amount in carbon tax related to the cost of drying grain.

Data compiled by the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) and farmers across the province show the average producer paid $3.69 per acre in carbon tax on grain drying (primarily corn), including propane and natural gas. As a result, more than $1.6 million was paid out in carbon taxes during the most recent harvest season.

“The carbon tax on grain drying not only impacts our profitability as farmers but our competitiveness in a world market,” said Dennis Thiessen, president of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association. “If we look to corn farmers in the northern United States, they are paying less for their drying costs and on top of that don’t pay a carbon tax. That corn comes into Manitoba, making Manitoba farmers uncompetitive. This is completely unacceptable, impacts Manitoba farmer’s profitability and the federal government needs to be aware of this.”

According to KAP, the ability to dry grain is important for a variety of reasons, including economic, harvest management and food safety reasons. KAP said storing damp grain may lead to a deterioration in quality, which in turn may lead to a lower return for crops.

“We are firm in our position that there needs to be an exemption for farmers under the carbon tax framework for all the costs associated with drying all grain, as well as for heating barns and farm buildings,” said Bill Campbell, president of KAP, which is Manitoba’s largest general farm policy organization with 4,000 members. “Now that Manitoba falls under the federal backstop, farmers are left paying prices that, as price-takers in the global economy, cannot be passed along.”

KAP said it will continue to work with the provincial government to present a unified case to the federal government.