Alberta’s NDP have recently put out a call for the provincial government to offer support to farmers looking to become more energy efficient.
“We’re asking the government to invest $15 million in startup money that could then be used to create loan guarantees for our agricultural producers in either doing a retrofit, or a new build for barns, but also all agriculture infrastructure,” said Heather Sweet, NDP agriculture critic. “The idea behind this is that the $15 million will be used to help people get in the door of banks, and then the government would guarantee the loan to build that infrastructure.”
These ideas primarily came from members of industry, said Sweet.
“As the critic, I've been spending a lot of time talking to farmers and ranchers and our producer groups,” said Sweet. “They recognize that we are going to be the leaders in renewable energy. And they've done a lot of research on how they can continue to be environmental stewards. And so one of their recommendations was to look at moving towards net-zero barns. Many of our producing groups have done their own research on these barns, they have looked into how they can move towards this. They're prepared, and they have the information that says that this can be done.”
Beyond just the farms and ranches themselves, this undertaking would also benefit the communities around them.
“We are recognizing that this is a job creator. They know that if they can continue to build and retrofit their infrastructure that will create jobs and local communities,” said Sweet.
Support from the landowners that would receive this support is very high, especially with the record temperatures that have taken place over this summer.
“Looking at even just the weather, and how we've hit such high temperatures, they really want to make sure that they are continuing to take care of their livestock in the healthiest ways possible,” said Sweet. “The energy costs alone have been substantial for our producer. If we look at the hog producers, specifically, the hog producers needed to make sure that the barns were cool and that they had misting systems in place. They're excited about being able to move towards more energy efficient HVAC systems and cooling cooling systems for their flooring, or heating systems in the winter. They are moving towards this anyway. and are looking forward to partnering with our opposition caucus and moving towards a netzero economy."
Anna Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prairie Post East