A proposed rule from the SEC would require public companies to report on Scope 3 emissions, which are the result of activities the companies don’t own or control. Public companies producing goods from agricultural products would need to report emissions from the relevant agricultural operations.
Travis Cushman, AFBF deputy general counsel for litigation and public policy, says this would have a profoundly negative impact on farmers and ranchers. Cushman; “I think it’s inevitable that if a public company is required to report your emissions, they’re eventually gonna be asking you to track those emissions. What does that mean? It means more cost for small and mid-sized farms. It’s an extra needle that cuts towards more consolidation, favors larger operations, and additionally, it’s one of those things that makes it tougher for the average person to do business and would encourage public companies to integrate further.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation recently sent a letter to the SEC outlining its concerns. Cushman; “It was providing the SEC the legal background and authority explaining why they should, and they can exclude agriculture. Carve us out of this, because I don’t think that their intention is to get agriculture in it, but this rule is so large and broad that’s what happened. And we were just trying let them know here’s some legal authority to carve us out. You guys could have this rule and not implicate us.”
Cushman talks about next steps in the rulemaking process; “The SEC will need to finalize the rule. Originally, I believe their plan was to finalize it last October. We’ve raised a lot of concerns about this rule, and Congress has taken notice to slow down the process a little bit. But we expect them, at some point in the future, to come out with a final rule. When that will be is anyone’s guess at this point.”
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