Senator John Thune Explains how new climate policy could threaten ag’s access to capital

The Biden administration sent guidance out to financial institutions to reduce their exposure to climate risk, but the move raises a red flag for South Dakota Senator John Thune who says it could threaten agriculture’s ability to access capital.

“I’ve heard lenders in South Dakota who have come in here to Washington to express concerns about pressure not to make certain types of loans, including livestock operations because livestock operations and methane. The people who worship at the altar of climate are now trying to undermine some of the basic industries that so many people in states, like South Dakota, depend upon and one of those is livestock production.”

He sent a letter to the administration with ten of his Republican colleagues trying to help them understand how the policy could be harmful for ag business.

“Family farming, ranching are things are so much a part of our culture, part of our lifestyle, part of a way of life in South Dakota. We want to protect them, and I think that oftentimes, agencies here in Washington are just speaking a different language than people back home are. I think it would be good for people here to listen more and to get feedback and input from people who are actually having to live under some of the decisions that are being made here. I think they would come to a very different decision if they did.”

He says increasing the regulatory burden is unwise at a time when inflation and the war on Ukraine are already driving input prices higher and cutting into the bottom line for farmers.

“There are so many areas where these prices are starting to crush the margins and really-- even though we’ve had good commodity prices now for a while--these input prices continue to creep up, the margins get narrower and narrower. And that makes it harder for agriculture to stay prosperous. I think there are a few things we can do. One is just stopping this attack on American energy production. One of the biggest cost inputs in agriculture is energy, and this administration’s assault on oil and gas is incredibly harmful because it sends all the wrong signals.”

Global food security is also a concern for the senator while the conflict continues.

“If we start seeing shortages, and you start seeing food shortages, famine in certain parts of the world, that’s incredibly problematic for the entire planet, which is why we have to make sure that we’re not making it harder for farmers in this country, to continue to increase their yields, to be able to have a successful planting season, and that’s why it’s important. We address issues like the high cost of inputs, so we’re going to have to pick up the slack. Our farmers are always prepared to do that but we need to get out of their way.”

Thune is also calling on the administration to allow year-round E-15 to put more fuel in the mix and help bring down energy prices.


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