WASHINGTON — Seven agricultural groups petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to waive a required Scope 3 reporting rule for family farms.

SEC’s proposed climate rule on the enhancement and standardization of climate-related disclosures for investors directs public companies to report their Scope 3 emissions.

The agricultural groups — comprised of the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council and North American Meat Institute — expressed concern that the rule will lead to further consolidation among farmers.

In June 2022, the groups wrote to SEC as the agency was accepting feedback on the climate rule.

By requiring public companies to provide reports on Scope 3 emissions, the ag groups indicate an inadvertent requirement for farmers to provide reports to those companies. The ag sector voiced their concern that this task could necessitate resources and finances that many family farms lack.

The groups provided supplemental information in their latest letter sent on April 17, 2023.

“This tracking will be extremely expensive, invasive, and burdensome for farmers and ranchers, at the cost of improved production practices that generate actual environmental gains,” the recent letter said. “Family farms, particularly smaller ones, will be hardest hit, with the rule driving greater consolidation and fewer family farms.”

The groups request SEC either eliminates the section of its proposed rule that requires Scope 3 reporting or includes explicit exemption for agricultural production.