Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Worry About SEC Climate Change Reporting Plan

by Benjamin Yount


There is growing worry among Wisconsin dairy farmers about a new climate change plan for investors.

The Venture Dairy Cooperative is sounding the alarm about the Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to require companies to report information about their “greenhouse gas pollution and be transparent with investors about climate-related risks.”

VDC Executive Director Kim Bremmer said while the focus is on big companies, she says it doesn’t take too much to see how the new rules will be used against smaller companies and family farms.

“This extension of reporting on Scope 3 emissions will inevitably filter down the supply chain to our nation’s family farms who grow and raise the food we eat. This will create a new level of reporting obligations, technical challenges and significant financial and operational difficulties that will cripple our farm families,” Bremmer said in a statement.

A number of Democratic Senators last week signed a letter to the SEC urging regulators to act quickly on the new rules.

“Climate change poses risks to the financial performance of public companies over all time horizons.  We support the Proposal because it would improve the transparency and consistency of reporting those risks. Requiring public companies to provide high-quality and standardized disclosures of climate risks would help our constituents manage their own financial risks and determine where to allocate capital. The Proposal builds on the SEC’s existing rules and guidance in these areas, all of which are grounded in the agency’s obligation to promote full and fair disclosure,” the Senators wrote.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.)  signed the letter. Wisconsin’s Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin did not.

Bremmer said the SEC’s climate change rules would simply be too much for small dairy farms in Wisconsin.

“Unlike the large corporations that are currently regulated by the SEC, our family farms don’t have the teams of compliance officers and on-staff attorneys to take on the tasks that would be required to comply with your proposed rule intended for Wall Street,” Bremmer added. “We must make certain the federal government understands the devastating and far-reaching effects of this rule.”

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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Dairy Cows” by Rawpixel Ltd. CC BY 2.0.

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