Time runs out for farmer protection legislation

Legislation that would exempt farmers from proposed reporting requirements through the Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t make it through Congress in time.

More than 120 Members of Congress support H.R. 9063, known as the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act.  This bill and its Senate companion would have exempted farmers from what farm organizations call burdensome and crippling regulations. 

Patrick Bond is the Communications Director for Congressman Frank Lucas from Oklahoma, who authored the bill.  He tells Brownfield the bill did not get added to the omnibus spending bill, even though it received tremendous support from farmers, ranchers, and ag organizations across the country.  Bond says Lucas will re-introduce the bill again in the 118th Congress, and he says Lucas will also be the senior Republican on the  House Committee on Financial Services, and may possibly join the House Ag Committee, where he can work to pass the bill.

The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed the Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors rule, which would require public companies to report data about their entire supply chain, including farmers.

The current House bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services in September, where it saw no action.  The Senate’s companion bill #5135 died at the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

  • When you read background information on these proposed SEC rules it seems strange that Ag Groups would get involve in this controversy. There does not seem to be any connection between most farmers and the disclosure rules for climate impact being proposed. Is this some sort of phony front strategy by GOP congress people who want to keep on denying the impact of climate change?

    • Hello and thank you for your comment.

      The agriculture groups are expressing concern because of the new and likely burdensome reporting requirements proposed for farmers since they are often at the beginning of the value chains and the proposed rules would require farmers to devote time, labor, and money into managing climate-related data they’ve never had to do before, and while trying to operate on a slim margin.

      This doesn’t appear to be a Republican issue. Even the National Farmers Union, which traditionally leans Democratic in its politics wrote a letter 5/6/2022 asking for an extension to the comment period for the rule since, “While our members are not typically registrants or directly subject to the jurisdiction and oversight of the SEC, we are concerned that aspects of the proposed rule might affect their businesses as producers of agricultural commodities. We are especially concerned about the potential implications of ‘Scope 3’ reporting requirements under the proposed rule, which could be burdensome and challenging for small and mid-sized family operations to comply with.”

      The following Brownfield links may help you understand the positions of the farm groups. There are more stories posted on the Brownfield web site.

      And, here’s the letter from National Farmers Union:

      • It appears agriculture groups genuinely against most environmental legislation, regulation, or rulings come out at the forefront of these complaints. Scope 1,2,3 emissions from agriculture exist. Typical rowcrop production and CAFOs contribute a healthy sum to the Transportation sector with a much larger damaging footprint around the globe. Put Transportation and Agriculture together – the process involved in rowcrop production inputs access in the US from around the globe, electricity use for drying grains and massive barns to keep livestock, add in shipment globally after harvest again around the globe, and anyone producing in this way should have to account for their contributions to emissions and fossil fuel reliance worldwide. Growing grains for biofuels and ethanol is not a panacea, its just a lobby interest. You can’t add an extractive process from one industry and marry it with another extractive process in another industry and call it climate smart. The math doesn’t add up.

        There are multitude of methods to grow crops. The US is stuck in the muck of one of the worst led by industry interests. USDA, Dept of Transportation account for it (so does the globe) and it can’t be hidden from any longer.

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