Montana Senator Presses SEC Chair on “Pain in the Neck” Reporting Requirements for Farm Country

September 14, 2023

U.S. Senator Jon Tester pressed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler this week about concerns that the agency’s “climate disclosure rule” could lead to burdensome paperwork and bureaucracy for Montana family farmers and ranchers.

Tester began his remarks during a Senate Banking Committee hearing by noting that as an active farmer himself, he understands firsthand that agricultural producers across Montana should not have to deal with burdensome reporting requirements:

“You know, as many of the folks know, I'm somebody that's still involved in production agriculture. If I don't cut the crop, the crop doesn't get cut… Every once in a while, in the mail – far too often, in my opinion – I'll get a survey as to how much grain I raise, and how much grain I have on hand, and how many cattle I have, and chickens and pigs and horses. It's a real pain in the butt. And the problem is you got to do this over and over and over again. So surveys aren't something that I'm real crazy about, okay, because I'm busy trying to make a living.”

The Senator then directly pressed Chair Gensler on whether he intends to honor his prior commitment that Montana farmers and ranchers won’t be hit with onerous reporting requirements: 

 “We have had previous conversations about making sure that the proposed climate rule does not lead to burdensome reporting requirements to add additional workload, pain in the neck – and I'm being generous when I say pain in the neck – to agriculture producers who do business with publicly traded companies, which by the way is by far and away the vast, vast, vast majority of folks in production agriculture. I appreciate you've been receptive to those concerns we have discussed previously in this hearing that it is not the Commission's intent to have farmers or ranchers in Montana or any other state or any other producers have to report on goods that they sell to publicly traded companies. I want to make sure that that still stands true. Is that right?

Tester concluded his remarks by making sure his concerns have been made crystal clear to the Commission: “You're fully aware that it's gonna take more than your intent for this happen. Bleed down of regulation is something that happens all the time. And I just want to make sure that it is crystal clear that people in production agriculture are not going to be faced with these surveys.”

As the Senate’s only working farmer, Tester continues to be Montana’s leading champion for Montana ag producers and fights tooth and nail to defend family farmers and ranchers from efforts by politicians in Washington DC to harm their bottom lines.

Last November, Tester pressed the SEC Chairman in a Senate Banking Committee hearing about concerns he’d heard from ag producers across Montana that the agency’s “climate disclosure rule” could lead to burdensome paperwork and bureaucracy for family farmers and ranchers. During the hearing, Tester received a commitment from the Chairman that the rule would not include requirements for producers to report information to the SEC, and that public companies will be able to use an estimate and will not require the companies to collect any additional information from suppliers like family farmers and ranchers. During the hearing and in a separate conversation with Chairman Gensler, Tester emphasized the importance of the SEC addressing the comments they have received from agricultural producers and other stakeholders and making sure any final rule works for Montana.

Source: Office of U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)