Manitoba farmers need to speak up

May 18, 2017

View from Parliament Hill – Manitoba farmers need to speak up

The Liberals announced a proposal in Budget 2017 to eliminate the provision that allows farmers to defer cash ticket purchases of listed grains to the subsequent tax year. Now, as part of their so-called consultations, the government is giving farmers only until May 24 to submit feedback.

As Member of Parliament for a constituency driven by agriculture, I know this proposal will have serious negative implications and I want to encourage all Manitoba farmers to submit their views before it is too late.

The current cash purchase ticket system helps farmers to stabilize income from year to year to ensure the long term sustainability of their operation. A farmer could have a bumper crop one year and a drought or flood the next, but the system allows for some flexibility in dealing with these fluctuations. Farmers can be prepared for things outside of their control and file taxes accordingly.

The proposed changes would limit producers ability to sell their product on their own time frame and to cash manage their income and operating expenses. These can be serious financial risks for farmers, while dealing with conditions outside of your control, such as the weather, market prices or rail system delays.

This Liberal proposal will not only impact the owners of farm operation either. Without the flexibility to cash-manage their operations, producers will have to make tough decisions on whether to hire or lay off any seasonal workers they may employ. The effects of this ill thought out proposal will have a real impact on our farming communities.

Manitoba farmers deserve to have their voices heard.

If you farm or deal with farmers, I would highly encourage you to make your views known on this important issue. I understand that this is a busy time as you are starting to seed or preparing your machinery and anxiously waiting to get into the fields. Your email does not have to be too lengthy or detailed, but your voice does need to be heard.

If farmers do not step up, the Liberals will undoubtedly eliminate this provision, and hurt farmers that are already working with thin margins, and harm the rural communities they support.

All feedback for the government on this proposal needs to be sent to Consultation_Tax_2017@canada.ca before May 24, 2017.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to submit feedback on this proposal, please contact my constituency offices at: 204-848-7000 or 1-877-405-8946 or by email at info@robertsopuck.ca.

Robert Sopuck, MP
Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa