What does the Proposed SEC Climate Rule Mean for Your Farm?

At the end of April, Farm Bureau joined more than 100 agriculture groups on a letter expressing concern with a proposed rule that would require farmers to report personal and business-related information to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), an agency with little to no existing oversight of agriculture. The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors proposed rule would mandate extensive climate disclosures by public companies, including measured impacts for their entire supply chain. Companies would be required to report on greenhouse gas emissions, climate-related targets and goals, as well as how climate risks impact their business. This is an end run around legislation to get companies to report certain climate change information in their financial reports.

For many farmers, the impact of this rule could be severe. The agriculture sector provides nearly every raw product that goes into the supply chain, with a valued contribution of over $1 trillion to the U.S gross domestic product in 2020 and employing over 21 million people. While farmers are not public companies and therefore not “registrants” that are required to report directly to the SEC, their obligations through their regulated customers could be burdensome because the rule extends reporting requirements for public companies to report on Scope 3 emissions, which are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by an organization but contribute to its value chain such as farms and ranches. 

This could create burdensome reporting requirements for family farms and ranches selling into supply chains and force the disclosure of private information. And may create multiple, new sources of substantial costs and liabilities. These include reporting obligations, technical challenges, significant financial and operational disruption and the risk of financially crippling legal liabilities.

Farmers are already heavily regulated by multiple agencies at the local, state, and federal level and the proposed SEC reporting requirements will no doubt make an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome. Unlike public companies, it is extraordinarily rare for a farm to employ a compliance team tasked with fulfilling such a regulatory burden.

Farmers are focused on growing the food, fuel, and fiber this country needs, and have not had to worry about regulations intended for Wall Street. When factoring in productivity and population gains, both per unit and per capita agricultural emissions are declining. That means U.S. agriculture is producing more food, fiber, and renewable fuel for more people while using fewer resources and emitting fewer greenhouse gases. The additional efforts to adopt conservation practices through voluntary, market-based incentives have helped farmers and ranchers trap 759 million metric tons of carbon in the soils, representing 12.7% of total U.S. emissions. There is no need for the agriculture industry to face additional regulation.

Do you want to take action? Please Click Here to submit your comments through Farm Bureau’s action alert before June 17, 2022 and tell the SEC to stop this invasive regulatory overreach!

Want to dig deeper into the proposed SEC rule? Click Here for an AFBF Market Intel with more details.

Want to learn more about agricultural sustainability? Click Here for the most recent Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gasses and Sinks.

Informational Webinar: Large-Scale Solar Projects and Land-Use Planning:

Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension are hosting an informational webinar to learn more about large-scale solar projects and land-use planning policies. This session will highlight research from West Virginia University’s Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic regarding solar land-use practices around the United States. The session will also include an update from Jennifer Friedel, Esq., Associate Professor of Practice at Virginia Tech on new policies in Virginia. Register to hear these presentations and ask your questions. Speakers include:

  • Whitney Morgan, Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, West Virginia University College of Law, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Jesse Richardson, Professor of Law, Lead Land Use Attorney, West Virginia University College of Law, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Jennifer Friedel, Asst. Prof. of Practice, Director, Virginia Land-Use Value Assessment Program, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Large-Scale Solar Projects and Land-Use Planning: Sharing Research on Experiences from Other States and an Update from Virginia

May 25, 2022, 10 – 11 a.m.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact John Ignosh, Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering, VCE Northern District Office at 540-432-6029/TDD* during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. *TDD number is (800) 828-1120.

Free Webinar: Shared Cost Meat Processing for Livestock Producers

Consumer demand for locally-sourced meats and producer meat enterprise interest are at all-time highs and outpace current local meat and poultry processing capacity in many localities. Shared Cost Meat Processing for Livestock Producers — Co-ops and Collaboration will introduce farmers, ranchers and local meat and poultry processors to opportunities and challenges in establishing or expanding local meat and poultry enterprises. The presentations will not only focus on market demand and regulations, but will also examine business structures that can benefit smaller scale farms and processing such as cooperatives and other collaborative business entities. Our presenters are each highly experienced in rural cooperative and business development, including meat processing and marketing, and accessing grants and financing options of importance for smaller-scale operations. Webinar topics include:

  • Enterprise entry challenges
  • Local retail/wholesale meat marketing
  • Local meat processing challenges and opportunities
  • Opportunity for a regional cooperative or collaboratively-owned meat enterprise
  • Cooperatives vs. other business ownership models
  • Grants and other financial assistance options

Shared Cost Meat Processing for Livestock Producers – Co-ops and Collaboration

May 24, 2022, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The Webinar opens at 6:00p.m., presentation begins at 6:30p.m.
Please direct webinar questions and comments to [Stricha@clemson.edu].

This event is being presented and sponsored by:
Carolina Common Enterprise, Matson Consulting, South Carolina Center for Cooperative and Enterprise Development and the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation & Rural Sustainability.

The sponsors offer their programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and are equal opportunity employers.

Additional Resources

For additional information concerning small-volume red meat processing and meat marketing in Virginia, please refer to our study guides at https://www.vafairs.com/resources/.

Congressman Cline Tours Shenandoah Farms

Virginia Farm Bureau partnered with Farm Credit to host a farm tour for Congressman Ben Cline in the Shenandoah Valley. The group visited Wightman Grain & Cattle, Steve Baker’s hog farm and pork processing facility, Cave Ridge Vineyard and Hillview Dairy Farm. Congressman Cline listened to the issues important to each of these operations and engaged in discussions on how Congress can be helpful. The group also held a Farm Bill roundtable to talk about programs that are working and not working for today’s farmers and agriculture industry.

Forest Carbon Symposium

Forest carbon markets are expanding rapidly in the commonwealth. If you are a forester, landowner, county leader, or just interested in this topic, please consider attending the first ever Forest Carbon Symposium hosted by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

In this symposium, you will learn about the importance of forest carbon markets, what this market means to Virginia, and what opportunities are available for our state’s forestry community.

Registration is $30 and includes lunch.