GOP Agriculture Commissioners Launch Mass Banking Probe

A group of state agriculture officials last week sent letters to the CEOs of six financial institutions demanding information about their participation in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and how it would impact the US agricultural industry, Just the News reported.

The January 29 letter, signed by the agricultural commissioners of eleven states as well as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, was sent to the CEOs of Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs.

The agriculture officials expressed “serious concerns” over the commitments the financial institutions had made as part of the NZBA and the impact those commitments would have on consumers, credit access for farmers and producers, and the “overall negative economic consequences.”

The officials requested further information on the “troubling economic commitments” the banks made that they argue would “target our farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers” and cause “grave consequences” for American consumers while undermining “the security of our food supply.”

The Net-Zero Banking Alliance, organized by the United Nations, is a voluntary group of banking institutions that have committed to promoting net-zero emissions goals. NZBA previously came under scrutiny over concerns that the ESG practices of member banks were a breach of their fiduciary duties to investors.

The state agricultural officials were especially concerned about the “severe consequences” for US farmers, like cutting livestock consumption in half, transitioning to electric farm equipment, and phasing out nitrogen fertilizer.

The officials asked the six CEOs to explain how they planned to achieve net zero emissions for the agricultural industry through lending and other activities. They also requested details on each bank’s involvement in the NZBA and other climate efforts.

In addition to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, the letter was signed by the commissioners of agriculture from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.