Farm Bureau grassroots advocacy efforts convince SEC to spare farmers from Scope 3 emissions reporting.  

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eliminated a proposal that would have required farmers to report greenhouse gas emissions under its final climate disclosure rule for publicly traded companies issued last week. 

The removal of the Scope 3 reporting requirement, which would have forced companies to report greenhouse gas emissions from throughout their supply chain, represents a significant victory resulting from Farm Bureau’s grassroots advocacy efforts, said American Farm Bureau (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall. 

Scope 3 reporting would have created burdensome requirements for farmers who provide almost every raw product that goes into the food supply chain.

After the rule was first proposed two years ago, Farm Bureau members across the country sent almost 20,000 messages to the SEC and Capitol Hill  sharing their perspectives on how the reporting requirements would be detrimental to their farms, Duvall said. That got the attention of SEC Chair Gary Gensler and opened the door to an ongoing dialogue regarding the consequences of overreaching Scope 3 requirements.

“They heard us loud and clear,” Duvall said. “Over the past two years, our members have made their voices heard on this issue, and several lawmakers and leaders really stepped up.”

Iowa Farm Bureau filed comments opposing the proposed climate rule in 2022, noting its adverse impact on farmers, and asked the SEC to remove the Scope 3 emissions disclosure requirements related to agriculture.

The onerous reporting requirements would have increased costs, especially for small farms that lack the resources to track and report the emissions data necessary to meet the disclosure requirements, potentially putting those farms out of business and driving further consolidation, Duvall noted. 

“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,” he said. 

AFBF is urging 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.