Issue Report Sheds Light on Agricultural Carbon Markets in the United States

The latest Farm Foundation Issue Report focuses on the agricultural carbon market in the United States. The report discusses multiple voluntary agricultural carbon programs and the contractual implications for participating farmers, barriers to the development of a voluntary market for agricultural carbon credits, and presents a simplified analysis of four possible scenarios for voluntary agricultural carbon markets.

The U.S. Voluntary Agricultural Carbon Market: Where to From Here? was written by Farm Foundation Agricultural Economics Fellow Dr. Alejandro Plastina. He is also an associate professor/extension economist in the Iowa State University Department of Economics.

A notable aspect of the report comes in the section where nine carbon farming programs are characterized. Each program description includes a detailed flow chart, visualizing the movement of methods, data, payments, and carbon credits between the different components of the program.

“The complexity of the nascent carbon farming industry cannot be understated,” writes Plastina. Nevertheless, there are indications of a strong appetite for agricultural carbon credits though various challenges, described in detail in the report, will persist for some time.

The report is free to download at the Farm Foundation website at

The Farm Foundation’s Agricultural Economics Fellowship is a joint program with the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist and is designed to nurture a promising leader in the field.

Share This Article