Bill Introduced to Protect Farmers & Ranchers from Burdensome SEC Climate Rules

by Colter Brown

U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Mike Braun (R-IN) 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). 

In March 2021, the SEC announced a climate disclosure proposal that 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 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 value chain reporting component of this proposal would place an undue burden on the farmers and ranchers who provide raw products to the value chain, inundating small, family-owned farms with costly compliance requirements. 

The Protect Farmers from the SEC Act 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. 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 amounts of unnecessary paperwork. This is the last thing they need as they struggle in the face of record high input costs, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, drought and other natural disasters,” Boozman said.   

“Since I’ve been in the Senate, I’ve been a leading voice for the climate benefit of farming, but this SEC regulation was drafted to meet out-of-touch climate metrics, not to meet reality. I’ve heard from countless Hoosier farmers who are worried about what this regulation means for their farms and their livelihoods. I am proud to introduce this legislation with Sen. Boozman to put a stop to the Biden administration’s federal overreach on Hoosier farms and ranches,” Braun said.                                                                  

The Protect Farmers from the SEC Act is backed by a number of leading agriculture organizations including 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. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK).

“The Securities and Exchange Commission’s overly broad rulemaking has the potential to increase burdens on cattle producers by requiring data that is impossible to provide,” said NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “NCBA is proud to support the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act because it ensures that federal regulators do not overstep their jurisdiction and it protects cattle producers from additional government red tape. We thank Senators Boozman and Braun for their focus on this issue.”

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