The B.C. government will provide the greenhouse sector with permanent carbon tax relief, announced Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick and Finance Minister Michael de Jong during a visit to Burnaby Lake Greenhouses in Surrey. Budget 2013 provides a new, permanent grant program to help offset carbon tax costs for commercial greenhouse growers.
The 2013 grant program covers commercial greenhouse sectors, including vegetable and floriculture growers, wholesale production and forest seedling nurseries.
Eligibility criteria will be similar to those for the 2012 temporary carbon tax relief grant program for commercial greenhouse vegetable and floriculture growers. The grant will be available for 2013 and future years, and will be set at 80 per cent of the carbon tax paid on natural gas and propane used for heating and CO2 production.
Interested producers should visit - www.gov.bc.ca/agri - or contact their respective industry association for application forms, details and deadlines. Application packages will be available before May 1, 2013.
The B.C. government also intends to introduce legislation this fall to provide a carbon tax exemption for farmers for the same coloured motor fuels, and uses, they are currently able to purchase exempt from motor fuel tax.
The carbon tax exemption for farmers and the carbon tax relief grants for greenhouse operators will provide a combined benefit of about $11 million annually to the B.C. agriculture sector.
Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick -
"Our government remains committed to our objective of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, while recognizing the unique circumstances faced by B.C.'s greenhouse industry. B.C. greenhouse growers have invested heavily in technology and innovation, with sales over $500 million in 2011, and the B.C. government wants to support and sustain that growth."
Minister of Finance Michael de Jong -
"Providing relief to the greenhouse sector recognizes that although it is not the only industry with competitiveness challenges, greenhouse growers are distinct from most others in that they need carbon dioxide and purposely produce it because it is essential for plant growth. Maintaining the affordability and competitiveness of locally produced agricultural products is essential."
B.C. Greenhouse Growers' Association president and chair Peter Cummings -
"The BC Greenhouse Grower's Association is very gratified that the provincial government has listened to our competiveness concerns around the carbon tax and has responded by creating a permanent grant program that provides relief over the next 3 years. In the longer run, this provides greater certainty to those growers contemplating expansion in British Columbia."
United Flowers Growers Cooperative Association chair John Kerkhoven -
"The carbon tax rebate helps to level the playing field for B.C. flower growers - our commodity prices are often set to compete with growers from other provinces and countries, and now our heating and tax costs are more comparable. We are very appreciative that the Province has stepped up and supported a competitive environment for our industry."
BC Landscape Nursery Association chair Tim Loewen -
"The total economic impact of the horticulture sector in British Columbia is $2.03 billion and 25,065 jobs. This carbon tax rebate will enable B.C.'s nursery growers to be competitive within B.C. and across North America, wherever B.C.'s top quality plants are shipped."
Forest Nursery Association of BC president Nathaniel Stoffelsma -
"Forest Nursery Association of B.C. members produce approximately 300 million seedlings for North America's forests each year in greenhouse operations throughout our province. This carbon tax relief will allow FNABC members to compete on an even playing field with our out of province competition and help ensure the renewal in our forests continues to be carried out by the over 1,700 people employed in our industry here in British Columbia."
The Greenhouse Sector Carbon Tax Relief Program
To be eligible, operators must:
- have a minimum of 5,000 square feet (455 square metres) of heated greenhouse production space.
- have at least 75 per cent of their total B.C. commercial greenhouse production area dedicated to the production of the following eligible products: vegetables, floriculture, nursery crops, and forest seedlings.
- be using natural gas or propane for greenhouse heating and/or the production of CO2.
- have annual sales exceeding $20,000
The grants will be based on the volumes of fuel used by eligible operators for eligible crop production in 2012 multiplied by 2013 carbon tax rates, which are 1.4898 cents per Giga Joule (5.70 ¢/m3) for natural gas and 4.62 cents per litre for propane.
B.C.'s Greenhouse Producers
- The greenhouse vegetable and floriculture sector in B.C. is the second largest in Canada with 2011 sales of $511 million.
- B.C.'s greenhouse growers currently employ about 6,700 British Columbians in 550 greenhouses that produce tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, plants and flowers. The carbon tax represents 1-2 per cent of greenhouse operating costs.
- B.C. exported almost $139 million of greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in 2011, the great majority to the USA.
- B.C. greenhouse floriculture produces a wide range of ornamental plants, including both flowering potted plants and cut flowers. B.C.'s largest export market is the USA.
- In 2011, over 226 million nursery tree and plants were produced by the nursery sector.
- Greenhouses produced 23.5 million tree seedlings in 2011.
Introductions to the industries are at:
BC Greenhouse Growers' Association: http://www.bcgreenhouse.ca
United Flowers Growers Cooperative Association: http://www.ufgca.com
BC Landscape Nursery Association: http://bclna.com/
Forest Nursery Association of BC: http://www.fnabc.com/
Burnaby Lake Greenhouses: http://www.burlake.com
Keep up to date on the latest in B.C. foods and beverages: https://www.facebook.com/FoodsBC
Ministry of Agriculture