Proposed legislation would shield ag from onerous proposed SEC rule
If imposed upon agriculture, new rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission would require agriculture producers to report greenhouse gas emissions. The 2021 climate disclosure proposal would require all public companies to disclose GHG emissions from operations a company owns or controls; from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heat or cooling that is consumed by company operations; and, if material, indirect GHG emissions that occur in the upstream and downstream activities of a registrant’s value chain. The proposed climate disclosure rule is aimed at large publicly traded companies, but would include agriculture as part of the supply chain for restaurants and retailers.
US Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and committee member Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) have introduced legislation to protect family farmers and ranchers from burdensome greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting rules proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry said the value chain reporting component of this proposal would place a reporting burden on the farmers and ranchers that provide raw products to the value-chain, and would inundate small, family-owned farms with costly compliance requirements.
The Protect Farmers from the SEC Act, introduced by Boozman and Braun, will exempt family farmers and ranchers from these reporting requirements, ensuring they are not required to track and disclose granular on-farm data regarding individual operations and day-to-day activities in order to stay compliant with the companies that purchase their products.
“The authors of this rule clearly lack an understanding of how agriculture works,” Boozman said. “The publicly traded corporations overseen by the SEC won’t be the ones tasked with complying with these onerous ‘value chain’ rules. That responsibility would fall on America’s family farmers and ranchers who would be forced to deal with unprecedented amount of unnecessary paperwork. This is the last thing they need to deal with as they struggle in the face of record high input costs, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, drought and other natural disasters.”
The American Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, USA Rice, National Cotton Council, American Sugar Alliance, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, United Egg Producers and Agriculture Retailers Association have all expressed their support for the act.
In a statement, the NCBA said the SEC’s overly broad rulemaking has the potential to increase burdens on cattle producers by requiring data that is impossible to provide.
A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK).