Updated December, 2023
File A1-76

How to Grow and Sell Carbon Credits in US Agriculture

A growing number of private initiatives are offering producers compensation for the generation of agriculture carbon credits as well as other ecosystem services such as improvements in water quality. Credits and ecosystem services are purchased by large corporations and other entities pursuing a reduction in their environmental footprints. Some private and public entities are already purchasing carbon credits generated outside agriculture to comply with environmental regulations and to improve their appeal to environmentally-conscious stakeholders.

How to Grow and Sell Carbon Credits in US Agriculture compares the requirements to grow and sell carbon and environmental services credits across 17 private voluntary agricultural initiatives in the United States. The side-by-side comparison of the 17 initiatives is organized into three groups, corresponding to Tables 1-3: payments per output, payments per practice, and mixed payments. A companion publication, AgDM File A1-77, How do Data and Payments Flow through Ag Carbon Programs?, presents flowcharts to show the direction data, payments, methods, and carbon credits move within each carbon program. To evaluate the net returns to a carbon farming contract, for various states, see AgDM File A1-78, Net Returns to Carbon Farming. Additional resources on Carbon Markets can be found on the Ag Decision Maker webpage, Carbon Market Information.


Alejandro Plastina, extension economist, 515-294-6160, plastina@iastate.edu
Oranuch Wongpiyabovorn, postdoctoral research associate, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)


Alejandro Plastina

extension economist
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Oranuch Wongpiyabovorn

postdoctoral research associate
Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)
View more from this author