SARM President Ray Orb joins conversation on Bill C-234

The Senate Ag Committee heard from the president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM).

Ray Orb is the latest to speak on Bill C-234, a private member’s bill that amends the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which would make natural gas and propane used for grain drying and heating barns exempt from the carbon tax.

Yesterday afternoon (Tues), Alberta Senator Paula Simons asked Orb whether his organization can faciliate the purchase of modern, energy-efficient grain dryers, given Saskatchewan’s history of cooperative farming.

Orb answered by using his neighbour, who farms about 6-thousand acres, as an example.  

“They actually dry all the grain on their farm, so they start harvest early and they want to dry their grain, not only to preserve the grain, but also it provides them with better quality grain, and they’re able to dry the grain during the night when they’re not harvesting.” explained Orb. “They are very modern grain dryers in the sense that they’re using the best technology that we have available (and) affordable for farmers, and I know as time goes on we’re going to get more innovation and we’re going to find more ways to dry grain but right now this is all we have.

“Those farmers are so busy, there’s no way to cooperate very much with neighbours because all the neighbours are trying to do the same thing, so it’s a good question, but it’s not practical right now.”

A few Senators have said this fall session there are better, more energy-efficient alternatives for grain drying.

The other Saskatchewan farm leader to address the committee was Ian Boxall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. He wrote and open letter to the Senators detailing why they should pass Bill 234.

The bill has been in the upper chamber since June, and needs the approval of Senators before it becomes law.

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