The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) joined 119 other agricultural organizations in sending a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking for an extension of time to comment on its proposed rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors.”
The SEC—whose primary purpose is to protect investors, maintain efficient markets and facilitate capital formation—now wants to require public companies to report data about their entire supply chain.
Nearly every farmer’s and rancher’s products eventually touch a publicly traded company, meaning that farmers and ranchers could be forced to report personal information and business-related data. This unprecedented overreach could create onerous reporting requirements for even small farms and ranches with few or no employees.
“This appears to be an example of overreach by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Farmers and ranchers are already heavily regulated by multiple agencies at the local, state and the federal level. New SEC reporting requirements will no doubt make an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome.”
The proposed rule is 510 pages long with 1,068 technical footnotes and almost 750 direct questions, but the SEC has only allowed 39 days for review.
“Farmers and ranchers are focused on growing the food, fuel and fiber this country needs and have never been subjected to SEC regulations,” Duvall said. “Unlike the large corporations currently regulated by the SEC, family farms and ranches don’t have teams of compliance officers. We urge the SEC to extend the comment period to allow those in agriculture time to understand the full impact of this proposal and offer meaningful input.”
The proposed rule “may create multiple, new sources of substantial costs and liabilities,” the letter states. “These include almost certain reporting obligations, technical challenges, significant financial and operational disruption and the risk of financially crippling legal liabilities.”
Read the full letter here.