The landscape of agricultural carbon markets and programs is changing rapidly, making it hard to keep it all straight. American Farmland Trust’s policy and science experts created this guidebook to help farmers, agricultural advisors, and conservation professionals navigate the agricultural carbon markets.
Corporations are increasingly using purchase of carbon credits to meet their sustainability goals, some of which can be generated by farmers through the adoption of “climate-smart practices” (e.g. reduced tillage or no-till, cover crops, and nitrogen management). However, among the many agricultural carbon market programs there are significant variations in costs, risks, and benefits. To help farmers and advisors navigate these programs, American Farmland Trust created a list of 10 questions farmers may want to ask when considering participation.
The 10 questions are split into two sections. The first four questions are in the section titled “Background on How Ag Carbon Markets Work” which covers topics that will help you understand why things are the way they are:
1. What is an ag carbon market and why are farmers being asked to join?
2. Just how many ag carbon markets are there and how do they differ?
3. What the heck is additionality, why is it so important, and how does it affect me?
4. How is the government involved in agricultural carbon markets?
The other six questions are in the “Questions That Are Top of Mind for Farmers” section. Here, we dig into the practical questions that any business-minded producer would have:
5. Am I eligible to participate?
6. What are the current ag carbon markets paying for (practices or outcomes)?
7. They want to look at my what?! What information and access do I have to provide?
8. How long are the contracts & who’s liable if something goes wrong?
9. Money matters: How can I make a market work for me?
10. How do I know which carbon market is right for me and where can I get more information?
The guidebook includes additional resources to provide more insights, including infographics in the Supplementary Materials section and a Glossary of terms. For a two-page overview, download the “Highlights” document which summarizes the guidebook.