Manitoba Beef Producers is giving the provincial budget a passing grade, but has a few reservations.
General manager Brian Lemon says the group understands the province’s choice to design a provincial carbon tax ahead of the federal government imposing one, but added even with the budget being dropped, there’s still plenty of questions.
“I don’t know that we’ve seen any detailed answers yet,” Lemon said. “We still believe that if they’re going to meet their goals on the carbon reduction that the cattle producers need to play a part and certainly we’re looking forward to the opportunity to doing that.”
MBP also applauded the funds set aside for green projects in the budget, but Lemon added they would have liked carbon tax money to be kept apart from other revenue and more fully reinvested for carbon reduction initiatives.
Lemon also raised concerns over what he calls an “inconsistency” in provincial policy, pointing to previous investments to encourage energy efficiency. Manitoba Beef Producers has argued that carbon incentives should be retroactive to reward producers who have already implemented beneficial practices.
“We’re looking for that same recognition of investment that our producers have been making in terms of grasslands and pastures and the carbon sequestration that has long been part of beef and cattle production in Manitoba,” he said.
MBP hasn’t discussed support for specific carbon sequestration initiatives yet with the province, although carbon sequestration looms large in MBP’s own carbon policy. There are no future meetings currently scheduled, he said.
“There’s so much good that is done by cattle producers and the grass that they put animals on in terms of carbon sequestration, in terms of water quality, in terms of flood mitigation,” he said. “The province is going through a process right now looking at drainage regulations. There’s so much good that’s done when you have perennial land cover. We’re looking forward to our production practices being recognized for all the benefits they bring.”