Last month, Dr. Chandra Singh, Senior Research Chair in Agricultural Engineering and Technology, appeared virtually before the Senate’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO) to share his expertise on grain drying and grain storage as it pertains to Bill C-234.
Bill C-234, an act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, is a private member’s bill that proposes giving farmers a carbon tax exemption on natural gas and propane that’s used for agricultural activities like grain drying, feed preparation, irrigation and the heating and cooling of barns and greenhouses.
The bill was tabled in February 2022 and passed in the House of Commons in March 2023. The Senate has been considering it since mid-September.
Singh was invited by the standing committee to appear as an expert witness at the Oct. 5 AGFO meeting.
“It was an honour to appear before the Senate’s standing committee as a witness for the examination of Bill C-234,” says Singh. “I would like to thank the Honourable Chair, Robert Black, and the Senate committee for the invitation and for giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience as a grain storage and drying expert.”
Both Singh and another expert witness, Dr. William David Lubitz, University of Guelph engineering professor, told the committee that fuels for grain-dryers are limited and that clean grain drying technology is still years away.
“Propane and natural gas are the only two practical fuel sources for grain drying,” says Singh. “Federal carbon pricing, with a proposed annual increase to $170 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by 2030 will impact farmers and ultimately the consumers who are already struggling with high food prices. I strongly support Bill C-234 to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.”
Third reading debate in the Senate took place Nov. 9 but was adjourned before a final vote could be held. The Senate meets again Nov. 21 when it’s expected debate on the bill will continue.
For more information on Dr. Chandra Singh and his research at Lethbridge College, visit the Advanced Post-Harvest Technology Centre webpage.