NCBA’s Mary-Thomas Hart Applauds Cattle Industry’s Sustainability Efforts in the Midst of SEC Ruling Win

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Mary-Thomas Hart about the recent SEC ruling.

Following continuous advocacy by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a limited greenhouse gas disclosure rule that omits the requirement for large publicly traded companies to release greenhouse gas emissions data from private companies in their supply chain. This type of data, known as Scope 3 reporting, could have increased burdens on family farmers and ranchers whose beef is processed or sold by publicly traded companies.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is talking with the NCBA’s Chief Counsel of Government Affairs, Mary-Thomas Hart, about the latest SEC ruling, which she says is a victory for the cattle industry.

“For years, NCBA and other agricultural groups have worked with agencies across the administration to ensure that cattle producers and other agricultural producers are not subject to greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements,” Hart said. “Whether through the EPA or on Capitol Hill, we have worked on this issue for a long time. It was quite surprising when we got a proposed rulemaking from the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for greenhouse gas emission reports from farmers and ranchers.”

As farmers and ranchers are not traditionally subject to SEC regulations, Hart said the proposed rulemaking opened many producers’ eyes to the SEC’s functions.

“There was a lot of alarm, but we quickly engaged both at the national level with a group of other national agriculture trade associations and through the grassroots to show policymakers both on Capitol Hill and at the SEC the potential risk and unnecessary burden that a reporting requirement would create,” Hart said.

Hart said there is plenty of interest in industry-wide data regarding how well the cattle industry is doing in terms of sustainability and more. That data is available through the EPA’s existing greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which gives a snapshot of annual greenhouse gas emissions from the cattle industry and other segments of the cattle industry.

“It shows us that beef cattle are only responsible for two percent of the United States’ overall greenhouse gas emissions,” Hart said. “It also shows us that since 1960, we have reduced our emissions per pound of beef by about 40 percent. That report does a really good job of showing us how we are improving as an industry. When you get down to getting reports from individual producers, the science just isn’t there. We don’t have an accurate way to calculate individual farm-level greenhouse gas emissions.”

If the SEC were to require agricultural producers to report their greenhouse gas emissions, Hart said they would be subjecting those individuals to a reporting requirement they could not comply with. The result, Hart said, is immense legal risk created for agricultural producers across the country.

“When it comes to cattle production, the United States does it better than anyone,” Hart said. “When we are looking at emissions per pound of beef, the United States emission intensity per pound of beef is lower than any beef producing nation in the world.”

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR at the top of the story for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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