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Missouri Farm Bureau Questions SEC’s Proposed Climate Disclosures

Missouri Farm SEC
(Credit: Pixabay)

The Missouri Farm Bureau is among the organizations that made a plea to the Securities and Exchange Commission to change some of its proposed emissions and climate disclosure requirements.

The bureau says it is against the proposed rules and that they would be difficult and expensive for farmers to meet, especially for small and mid-sized farms. The letter the Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) sent to the SEC was among more than 3,400 comments the commission has received on the rules.

The SEC proposed in March 2022 to require companies to make climate-related disclosures when they register to be public. Those disclosures include Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

The MOFB, which says it ranks second nationally in the number of farms, asked the SEC to remove requirements to disclose Scope 3 emissions, what an organization’s climate-related targets are, and to remove the value-chain concept from the proposal. The MOFB says the value chain requirement is too broad and that many farms would not be able to obtain the information.

The bureau says the Scope 3 rule will pass the costs and burdens of that reporting onto farmers and ranchers. In terms of reporting sustainability targets, the MOFB says that could discourage farmers from making such goals at all.

Additionally, the MOFB says the SEC should provide guidance on how registrants should exclude greenhouse gas emissions from their manure management systems in their emissions disclosures. The bureau says that the Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibits government agencies from using funds to require mandatory reporting of emissions from manure management systems.

The MOFB isn’t alone in its objections and questions regarding the proposed SEC rules.

A coalition of 12 state attorneys general led by California wrote a letter to the SEC asking for changes in the proposed rules, saying that investors face financial consequences when they lack information about climate risk, and the rules should be strengthened and made more transparent.

West Virginia also led a group of 24 states opposing the rules. That objection says in part the rules would discriminate against areas that rely more heavily on fossil fuels for energy.

The Wall Street Journal reported many companies also questioned the proposed rules and that the additional cost to meet the requirements would be $420,000 for a small business and $530,000 for bigger companies.

The official comment period ended June 17, 2022, although the SEC’s website lists more current responses. The SEC next could decide to amend the rules or vote to make them final.

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