Proposed SEC Rule Could Hurt Every U.S. Farmer and Rancher

The American Farm Bureau and 119 other ag organizations sent a joint letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a proposed rule that may impact every American farmer and rancher. The groups want more time to comment on the proposed rule called “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.”

The SEC now wants to require public companies to report data on their entire supply chain. Almost every farmer’s and rancher’s products go through a publicly-traded company. That means farmers and ranchers could get forced to report personal information and business-related data. The new reporting requirements would create a heavy burden even for smaller farms having few or no employees.

“Farmers and ranchers are already heavily regulated by multiple agencies at the local, state, and federal level,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The new requirements would make an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome.”

Andrew Walmsley, AFBF Senior Director of Government Affairs, says farm groups need more time to understand the implications of the rule. “It’s a 510-page long rule looking at those companies that report to the SEC to now start disclosing their climate risk and emissions from those that supply them. It’s called scope three emissions. This rule is only given us about 39 days to review it, and so this week 120 farm and commodity groups asked for an extension of the comment period to get a better idea on what the implications are for farmers and ranchers.”

Walmsley says AFBF has already identified some areas of concern.

“Nearly every farmer and rancher in this country probably has their product end up at the end of the day to a company that’s regulated by the SEC. Well, what are those requirements going to be pushed back on to the farmers to report? So, there’s a lot more questions than answers under this proposed rule. It’s something Farm Bureau and the 119 other groups that signed this letter are starting to dig into, but we need more time to evaluate this rule.”

Walmsley says those questions include potentially burdensome paperwork and data privacy.

“Most of the companies that are regulated by the SEC have teams of lawyers and consultants and auditors that they spend their day filling out paperwork. Whereas most farmers and ranchers are hardworking Americans trying to produce the food, feed, fuel and fiber to power this country and really in the world, and so we don’t have the team of experts at our disposal, it would have a huge cost burden. And then there’s just other questions on what would have to be reported and how that data would be protected.”


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