Research Shows 90% of Farmers Won’t join Carbon Markets Without Changes

Research Shows 90% of Farmers Won’t join Carbon Markets Without Changes
Aug 12, 2022

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New research based on 500 farmer insights suggests adjustments in payment amounts, credit for existing conservation practices and reduction in paperwork could help but won’t be a cure-all for enrollments.

“Failing to connect with drivers such as purpose, mission and legacy could inadvertently result in negative perceptions of carbon marketplaces as purely transactional efforts to commodify farmers’ hard work,” writes Cara Urban, lead author of the report from Trust In Food, Farm Journal’s sustainable agriculture initiative. “Producers might see such marketplaces as seeking to extract value from their operations at the lowest possible price, while requiring a lengthy and risky up-front investment of time, energy and expert advisers.”

The report isn’t designed to throw water on sustainable agriculture investments or carbon markets, says Amy Skoczlas Cole, executive vice president at Trust In Food. Instead, it balances marketplace excitement with farmers’ pain points and needs.

“We’ve witnessed exuberance in both the private sector and the U.S. government for using agricultural carbon markets as a tool to advance climate and food goals,” Cole says. “We wanted to understand how producers feel about this new opportunity.”


Around 90% of farmers are aware of carbon markets, and 3% are participating, according to the report. About a third say they’re still monitoring the landscape, and 59% report they won’t join without changes.

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