Farm Bureau: Proposed SEC rule could hurt agriculture

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule that would require companies to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports could hurt agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Federation said last week.

Farm Bureau’s Market Intel service issued a report on the rule.

While farmers and ranchers would not be required to report directly to the SEC, they provide almost every raw product that goes into the supply chain.

In a news release, Farm Bureau said its economists anticipate reporting requirements for farms “could create several substantial costs and liabilities, such as reporting obligations, technical challenges, significant financial and operational disruption and the risk of financially crippling legal liabilities.”

“Farmers have never been subjected to regulations intended for Wall Street,” Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said.

“This proposed rule is an example of overreach by the SEC, whose primary purpose is to protect investors from unscrupulous business practices. Unlike large corporations currently regulated by the SEC, farmers don’t have a team of compliance officers or attorneys dedicated to handling SEC compliance issues. This proposal could keep small farms from doing business with public companies at a time when all farms are needed to ensure food security here and abroad.”

The National Pork Producers Council said Friday its representatives had met with SEC “senior leadership” and “raised concerns about the proposal, including its potential to expose farmers and ranchers to the risk of litigation and lead to further concentration in and integration of the pork industry.”

Farm Bureau noted that the SEC proposed rule is 510 pages long, with 1,068 technical footnotes and 750 direct questions, but the SEC has only given farmers 39 days for review, with public comments due May 20. Farm groups have asked the SEC to extend the comment period.

Meanwhile, Marian Salzman, a futurist, said in Washington she believes that every company someday will get an “environment, sustainability governance” score online.


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