Legislators Reintroduce the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act

snow farmImage by Robert Jones

With members of both the House and Senate putting their support behind family farmers and ranchers, Republicans in Congress are standing up for agricultural producers by introducing new legislation that would exempt them from an upcoming SEC proposal requiring disclosure of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), and Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) are all collaborating once again to introduce the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act, a timely measure in defense of those impacted most by these regulatory changes. The bill seeks to recognize the unique needs of small-scale operators and ensure that burdensome reporting requirements do not interfere with their capacity to harvest crops, manage livestock, and look after the land.

“All it takes is a basic understanding of how agriculture works to see how misguided this proposal is—particularly when it comes to the so-called ‘value chain’ rules. The SEC can claim compliance will fall to the publicly traded corporations the SEC oversees, but the reality is it will be up to America’s family farmers and ranchers who will have to keep up with an unprecedented amount of unnecessary paperwork. Our farmers and ranchers are struggling with record high input costs, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, drought and other natural disasters. Yet, the administration, with its never-ending focus on climate change, wants to bury them with reams of paperwork as well,” 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.

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“America’s family farmers and ranchers face many challenges in the marketplace as they work to produce more commodities while using fewer resources. The SEC’s efforts to use financial regulation to implement a climate agenda would hinder the ability of American farmers and ranchers to compete in global markets and creating onerous compliance requirements for operations with few or no employees,” Lucas said. “Nevertheless, federal securities laws already require publicly traded companies to disclose material risks to investors, the SEC’s ill-advised climate disclosure rule undermines the materiality standard for environmental policy purposes. I am proud to introduce legislation with Ranking Member Boozman and Senator Braun to ensure the SEC doesn’t take action that leads to burdensome reporting requirements for family farmers and ranchers when their products become a part of a supply chain for a publicly traded company.”

The SEC’s 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 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 is backed by leading agriculture organizations including the American Farm Bureau, National Pork Producers Council, National Cotton Council, USA Rice, American Soybean Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the National Potato Council.

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