Proposed regulations that could require public corporations to start reporting on the greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains would saddle producers with significant costs and threaten the privacy of farm data, according to an analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation. 
The rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in March "could create several substantial costs and liabilities, such as reporting obligations, technical challenges, significant financial and operational disruption and the risk of financially crippling legal liabilities,” AFBF says
Farmers would have to start tracking and disclosing on-farm data at a time when farm management software platforms are only used by 31% of farms, the analysis says. Many farmers still rely on pen, paper and non-computerized tools.
The SEC rule also would require companies to disclose when they purchase carbon offsets, including credits generated from farm practices such as cover crops or no-till farming.
The deadline for filing comments on the proposed rule is May 20. 

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.

Senate Dems call for $1B in conservation funding

A group of Senate Democrats is requesting $1 billion for the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service, according to a letter sent to Senate ag appropriators.
The group, led by Sens. Michael Bennet, Chris Coons and Debbie Stabenow, stressed the importance of preserving funding for USDA's conservation programs — including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
The senators said boosting funding for NRCS would allow USDA to increase staffing and ensure adequate technical assistance for farmers.
Take note: The recently passed fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending bill directed $904 million to NRCS.
On that subject: A new Economic Research Service report looking at soybean, wheat, oats and cotton acreage found that growers of more than a third of fields with “resource concerns” such as water-driven erosion had not received technical assistance. NRCS was the source of technical assistance for two-thirds of fields with resource issues, including soil compaction.
WOTUS roundtables kick off today
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will hold their first virtual, regional roundtable today to hear a diversity of viewpoints on how to define “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The roundtable, organized by the National Parks Conservation Association, can be viewed at 9:30 Central Time (10:30 Eastern).
The agencies have frustrated the ag community, however, by not identifying who will be represented at the 10 roundtables, which have been organized by a variety of groups, including the Arizona, North Carolina and California farm bureaus, the Kansas Livestock Association and the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation.
EPA did not respond to a request Friday for that information. Part of the reason may be that some of the groups are still putting together their lineups. The North Carolina Farm Bureau, whose roundtable is scheduled for June 23, tells Agri-Pulse it is “still working with the agencies and the lineup hasn’t been finalized,” but expects EPA to release more information closer to June 23.
USDA to allocate $22.5M to Chesapeake Bay water quality projects
The Agriculture Department plans to invest $22.5 million in extra conservation assistance in the 2022 fiscal year for water quality projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Most of the pollution in the bay has historically come from agriculture. The Environmental Protection Agency, all six bay states and the District of Columbia have all made pledges to clean the bay as part of a unique federal-state agreement resulting from a lawsuit brought by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The USDA plans to allocate $10 million of the funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, $10 million through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and $2.5 million from the Conservation Stewardship program.
Value of US dairy exports soars to start 2022
U.S. dairy exports in the first quarter of 2022 showed strong results, edging above last year’s shipment totals, but it was the value of those exports that really shined.
The U.S. shipped about 650,000 metric tons of dairy products in the first three months of the year with a value of about $2.1 billion, according to the latest USDA trade data. U.S. exporters shipped about 649,000 tons in the same time frame a year ago, but it was worth $1.7 billion.
The success of U.S. dairy exports this year comes in spite of “numerous challenges such as supply chain problems, numerous barriers to enter the markets in the EU and Canada and lack of trade agreements that put us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors in many other regions,” says Jaime Castaneda, executive vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
FAS lowers forecast for Malaysian palm oil
Malaysia, a key supplier of palm oil for the global market, won’t be producing as much as previously expected, adding to the tightness of international vegetable oil supplies, according to a new analysis from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
FAS says it now predicts Malaysia will produce 18.5 million metric tons of palm oil for the 2021-22 marketing year, 646,000 tons more than the previous marketing year but lower than USDA’s earlier forecast. The main problem, FAS says, is that there’s an “ongoing shortage of manual labor in the sector,” a situation the agency says it expects to be resolved for the 2022-23 marketing year when FAS predicts production will jump to 19.5 million tons.
“Even though the Government of Malaysia approved the recruitment of 32,000 foreign workers, it will take time for the industry to fill the gap,” FAS says in a report out of Kuala Lumpur. “The Malaysian and Indonesian governments signed an MOU on foreign labor on April 1 that is expected to pave the way for resumption of fully staffed harvesting operations.”
She said it: "This additional $22.5 million to help watershed farmers improve water quality in their local waters and the Chesapeake Bay is encouraging. We thank USDA for this infusion of resources and our congressional leaders for their tireless advocacy to bring more resources to the watershed." – Alison Prost, Chesapeake Bay Foundation vice president of environmental protection and restoration.
Questions, comments, tips? Email Steve Davies.