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State agriculture officials press banks on involvement with climate bloc: 'We hold serious concerns'

Of particular concern to the agricultural officers are what they deemed the "severe consequences for American farmers—including cutting America’s beef and livestock consumption in half."

Published: January 29, 2024 4:11pm

A coalition of state agricultural officials on Monday pressed the leaders of six major financial institutions on their participation in a climate bloc and its implications for the agricultural sector in the U.S.

In the Monday letter, the group of 11 state agricultural commissioners and one secretary of agriculture warned that "we hold serious concerns over commitments made by your bank as part of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance ('NZBA'), and the potential impacts on the agriculture sector; specifically, food availability and price increases on consumers, credit access for our farmers and agriculture product producers, and overall negative economic consequences."

The coalition wrote to the heads of Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo.

"Due to the potential impacts to agriculture, we are seeking more information regarding what appear to be troubling environmental commitments by your banks that target our farmers, ranchers, and agriculture producers, with grave consequences for consumers and that undermine the security of our food supply," the group continued.

The NZBA is a United Nations-organized voluntary bloc of financial institutions that have committed to using their influence to push for net zero emissions. The bloc has previously attracted scrutiny from watchdog groups over concerns that environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices its members use to achieve that end may breach their fiduciary duties to their investors.

Of particular concern to the agricultural officers are what they deemed the "severe consequences for American farmers—including cutting America’s beef and livestock consumption in half, switching to inefficient electric farm equipment, and moving away from the nitrogen fertilizer necessary for American agriculture to thrive."

The group specifically asked that the bank leaders provides explanations of their plans to achieve net zero emissions through agriculture lending and other business activities and to account for their involvement with the NZBA and to provide them with documents related to their climate efforts.

"American farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our economy and work tirelessly to feed the people of this great country and the entire world. They grow and raise our food sustainably, backed by the latest science and technology. It is imperative to recognize these facts and build up the agriculture sector, not work against it," Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain said in a statement.

"American agriculture is sending a clear signal: we will not bend the knee to the failed, left-wing climate agenda of the United Nations that seeks to cripple one of our country’s most critical industries," said Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Tyler Harper. "Now more than ever, banks that do business with America should be unquestionably supporting American industries—and that starts with the one that puts food on our tables, clothes on our backs, and shelter over our heads. The UN’s Net-Zero Banking Alliance would be the equivalent of a run on the bank for our nation’s agriculture industry and pose a serious threat to our national security—and it must be stopped."

Will Hild, executive director of Consumers' Research further warned of the adverse effects on agricultural from the bloc, stating that "[f]armers and ranchers are the foundation of our economy and international climate cartels like the NZBA pose nothing less than an existential threat to their future."

"By forcing ESG, Brian Moynihan and his cohort have driven the cost of doing business for small family farmers and independent ranchers to astronomical heights," he went on. "The Ag officials and Commissioners hit the nail on the head in their letter: should their misguided climate extremism continue unabated, these megabanks will put our entire food supply in serious jeopardy. I applaud the states for their action, and I look forward to working with them to defend American consumers from this corporate malfeasance." 

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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