Climate disclosure rule voted down

The Securities and Exchange Commission responded to American Farm Bureau Federation’s and Ohio Farm Bureau’s concerns and affirmed that regulations intended for Wall Street should not extend to America’s family farms. The SEC voted March 6 on its final climate disclosure rule and removed the Scope 3 reporting requirement, which would have required public companies to report the greenhouse gas emissions of their supply chain.

“The SEC’s proposed rules would have been wildly burdensome and expensive, if not altogether impossible for many small and mid-sized farmers to comply with, as it would have required reporting of climate data at the local level,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “We appreciate the attention the agency gave to our members as it considered the impacts the Scope 3 rule proposals would have had on Ohio farmers.”

Since the rule was first proposed two years ago, AFBF and OFBF led the charge for the removal of Scope 3. Farm Bureau members from across the country sent almost 20,000 messages to the SEC and Capitol Hill, sharing their perspectives of how Scope 3 reporting would affect their farms.

“AFBF thanks SEC Chair Gary Gensler and his staff for their diligence in researching the unintended consequences of an overreaching Scope 3 requirement,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers are committed to protecting the natural resources they’ve been entrusted with, and they continue to advance climate-smart agriculture, but they cannot afford to hire compliance officers just to handle SEC reporting requirements. This is especially true for small farms that would have likely been squeezed out of the supply chain.”

Farm Bureau recognizes the value of data collection and has actively contributed to responsible approaches to such efforts, including as a founding member of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and a leader in Field to Market. Both organizations work to empower farmers when it comes to on-farm data collection. The proposed Scope 3 requirement, however, would have imposed additional burdens on farmers, who provide almost every raw product that goes into the food supply chain. The onerous reporting requirements could have disqualified small, family-owned farms from doing business with public companies, putting those farms at risk of going out of business.

Now that the SEC has thoughtfully evaluated the issue, AFBF urges California to follow the SEC’s lead by withdrawing its Scope 3 reporting requirement for any company doing business in the state. Farm Bureau, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, recently challenged that state law and its national ramifications.

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