At the end of October, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister unveiled the provincial Climate and Green Plan. The purpose of the plan it two-fold: to provide a cleaner and greener Manitoba and to circumvent the carbon tax structure suggested by the federal government. The provincial and federal plans are both designed for a five-year period, beginning in 2018 through 2022. However, the Manitoba plan uses a flat rate of $25/tonne while the federal plan starts at $10/tonne in 2018 and increase to $50/tonne by 2022. Agriculture being a key target of the plan is clear, being the identified as the second highest industry for emissions in the province.
During the carbon tax discussion it is important to remember that our environment impacts our farming practice in every aspect of our operation including:
the type of crops we choose to grow to
the amount of money we invest in water-related infrastructure
or the amount of field-scaping we do to change the grade and drainage of fields.
Regardless of the specific carbon tax plan we prefer, it is important to remember that this conversation can be win-win. In the long view, farmers are attentive to environmental health and in the short view farmers need to consider financial impact and viability. Farmers, especially multi-generational farmers have and continue to recognize that a long view of environment health and a short view of running a financially viable business are not distinct lenses. They are both part of overall sustainability.