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Team Alberta Vows to Continue Working to Minimize Financial Impact of Carbon Tax on Farmers (PCN Winter 2017) JAN 4 2017 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Pulse Crop News.

The Alberta Pulse Growers and the other crop commissions involved in Team Alberta welcomed the news of $10 million in provincial funding for the agriculture industry to work toward climate change advancements, but work still needs to be done to minimize the financial impact of the carbon levy.

The provincial announcement came just days after Team Alberta met with Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier to make recommendations for the Province to invest in agriculture – a sector already contributing to the reduction and sequestration of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

“We have more of a voice when we stand together,” said Caroline Sekulic, APG Director for Zone 4, who represented APG at the October meetings at the Alberta Legislature. “Team Alberta is here to inform the government that they have not done enough impact assessment to know what effect the carbon tax will have on the agricultural industry in Alberta. From a producer’s perspective, we deserve to be involved in the development of legislation affecting our industry and we were assured that we would be. We will need to stay engaged and united as an industry to ensure we are heard, and this was just a positive introduction.”

Team Alberta is a collaborative initiative led by the province’s four crop commissions: Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and Alberta Wheat Commission. Team Alberta appreciated that the ministers made time to meet on Oct. 18, and the commissions viewed the Oct. 24 news as a good first step by the provincial government in acknowledging that farmers are part of the climate change solution.

This funding will be transferred from Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), formerly known as the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC), to enhance four existing Growing Forward 2 (GF2) programs.

“Some of these GF2 programs were already fully subscribed and this investment will reopen them for application,” said APG Chair Allison Ammeter. “GF2 programs are extremely valuable to agriculture industry advancements and this is a good first step forward.”

The province allocated $10 million in funding to the following four GF2 programs: On-Farm Energy Management, Irrigation Efficiency, On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics and Accelerating Innovation. Within the on-farm energy management program, funding will be increased from 35 per cent coverage for eligible costs with a $50,000 cap to 70 per cent coverage with a $750,000 cap.

“By pricing carbon, Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan encourages all Albertans to become more energy efficient while reducing the pollution that causes climate change,” Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, said in a news release. “Alberta’s agriculture sector has done a lot of important work to enhance environmental stewardship over the years. These programs demonstrate how we are continuing to support farmers in reducing the environmental footprint of their operations.”

During the meetings on Oct. 18, Team Alberta shared with the ministers that the province’s farmers have been committed to voluntary, continuous improvements that help reduce GHG intensity for many years.

Team Alberta also met with Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman in late November.

The four crop commissions are committed to continuing to represent the interests of their members and emphasize agriculture’s commitment to voluntary advancements that help to reduce GHG intensity. By collaborating in Team Alberta, the commissions will continue to encourage further government action to reduce the impact of the carbon tax on farmers and sustain our industry’s competitiveness.