Top 5 Carbon Credit Companies for Farmers

September 23, 2022

Sustainability and climate change are hot topics today. Along with the refocus to climate, the carbon credit marketplace is heating up but clear information on the key players and their relative benefits is sparse and convoluted. As many of you have likely learned – Google searches won’t get you very far here.

I’ve studied carbon markets as a Masters student and Farmer Engagement Intern at FarmRaise, I’ve tracked these players closely over the last several months. In this blog post, I hope to share what I’ve observed and shed light on the five most-watched carbon credit companies.

Are you a fund, agribusiness, or carbon credit company? If yes, we want to partner with you to get your funding opportunities in front of regenerative farmers!

How Carbon Credit Markets Work

First off, what even is carbon credit trading? In a few words, when a person - or more likely a business - wants to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions), they can buy carbon credits that equal the amount of carbon they’ve emitted or estimate they will emit into the environment. If the buyer of carbon credits buys too many credits, meaning they bought more carbon offsets than they wind up emitting into the environment, then they can sell them to someone else.

Nowadays, U.S. farmers can get in on the trend of people, governments and industries trying to address their carbon footprints. By implementing regenerative agriculture practices, growers can practice carbon sequestration through carbon farming - trapping carbon dioxide in the soil. Then they can sell carbon credits for a set price based on how much carbon they’ve trapped in the soil compared to current market prices.

How Farmers and Ranchers Sequester Carbon

Carbon sequestration in agriculture occurs when plants photosynthesize, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. Carbon sequestration improves both soil health and water quality. Here are three example methods of sequestration:

  • Cover cropping - One of the most popular carbon sequestration practices, cover cropping reduces soil erosion while also capturing nutrients and carbon in the soil.
  • Sowing companion crops - By planting crops that grow well together, you encourage biodiversity and soil health. So if you’re growing soybeans, planting rye can help protect the soybeans from pests and encourage healthy growth and carbon sequestration. As it turns out, rye can be considered a cover crop as well.
  • Reduced tillage - By tilling the land, you release trapped carbon back into the atmosphere. Low and no-till farming can help keep carbon trapped in the soil.

You may be eligible for USDA funding to plant cover crops, sow certain companion crops and practice low or no-till farming on your land through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Did you know that FarmRaise helps farmers easily apply for EQIP?

You can be more competitive for funding opportunities by tracking your farm expenses. Sign up for FarmRaise Tracks to get started!

Top 5 Carbon Markets for Producers

1. Indigo Carbon

As the most recognized name in the farming community, Indigo Ag has an impressive list of well-known corporate buyers like The North Face, Blue Bottle Coffee, and JP Morgan Chase. While Indigo is touted as a leader in the emerging industry, it may not be the best option for all.


  • Indigo carbon has a proprietary software platform that allows farmers to easily input data from enrolled fields.
  • After enrolling, farmers have access to Indigo’s agronomists and support teams to help implement changes and answer questions.


  • Farmers only get paid for adopting new practices (ie. cover cropping, no tillage, reduced nitrogen fertilizer, etc.), so if you’ve been cover cropping for years, you’re unlikely to be eligible. (Note: If you’ve been using a single crop cover crop and switch to a multi-crop cover crop you may be eligible.)
  • Farmers need to have detailed management practice information from the past 3-5 years even though you aren’t paid for those practices retroactively.
  • Right now, they only service specific states: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas

2. Nori

Nori is a blockchain-enabled startup company whose sole mission is to offer climate solutions by creating a leading carbon marketplace. Unique to the carbon-removal industry, they are powered by cryptocurrency. Through this pioneering approach, they hope to create efficient and transparent carbon removal transactions.

Companies can purchase NORI tokens (whose price depends on the market price of a carbon removal credit at time of purchase). Once it has a NORI token, the company can exchange it for an NRT or Nori Removal Token.

Farmers create NRTs when they sequester one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). That NRT translates into a NORI token which is priced at market value and can be sold whenever you feel is right. The exchange rate between a NORI token and an NRT will always be 1:1.

Companies like this model because they can buy tons of carbon in NORI tokens and bank them, then eventually exchange the NORI tokens for NRTs which count towards carbon removal. Farmers like this model because they get the power to sell their banked carbon when it’s most beneficial to them. (Hello, invisible hand of the market.)


  • NORI’s pilot phase will award up to five years of grandfathered credits (2016-2020).
  • NORI is paying farmers cash right now and will continue to pay cash until the tokens are launched.
  • Once the token payment platform is launched, farmers will be given a NORI token (which is essentially “real-money”) for every tonne they sequester and can cash in whenever they want. The NORI token is priced at the market value of a carbon credit, so the idea is that the longer you hold onto a NORI token, the more it will be worth in the long run, much like stocks.
  • Farmers are able to directly connect with buyers, and by cutting out the middlemen, it saves time and money on both sides.
  • The NORI token/NRT currency is interesting and could attract major attention when NORI tokens are finally offered. We don’t know when that will be, but you can sign up for the NORI launch here.


  • NORI is still doing pilot programs right now and won’t have NORI tokens available for corporate purchase until it has launched, so it’s a waiting game until more information is available from the company.

3. The Truterra Carbon Program  

Truterra is a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes – the world’s largest farmer owned cooperative.* The current state of the Truterra Carbon Program is only available to farmers with data from 2016-2020, so don’t sign up if you don’t have agricultural carbon data from those years.


  • To my knowledge, they’re one of the only companies interested in paying farmers retroactively. This means that if you made a change in agronomic practices before joining the program, you are eligible for payment from Truterra. I wouldn’t be surprised if Truterra expands to allow farmers to enroll for future payments, but right now they’re only focused on retroactive accounting.
  • Truterra’s Carbon Program has an easy way to determine if you may be eligible to join. You can take their carbon survey to see if you might be a good fit.


  • Enrollment is contingent upon committing to a 5 year reporting period using the Truterra sustainability tool (carbon reporting contracts are similar to conservation easements, meaning that they can be transferred in the case of transfer of property).

4. Bayer Carbon Initiative

Bayer’s Carbon Initiative is one of the newest ones on this list, so it’s still in its beginning phases. That said, we do know that they, like many of the other carbon credit companies on this list, will only pay farmers for adopting new cover crops or no-till and strip till practices.


  • Bayer is a hugely influential food and agriculture company in its own right, so they have the resources and expertise to roll out a strong program after this pilot season.
  • The Bayer Carbon Program, called ForGround, offers a larger incentive for farmers this year than they did for last year.


  • Their program is still young so expect some kinks to be worked out.
  • Bayer is an agriculture retailer. Carefully read the fine print when enrolling in the program to make sure you’re not also signing up to use Bayer’s proprietary products, unless that’s what you want to do.

5. Nutrien Ag

Nutrien’s core businesses are creating seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and software to optimize farm performance. Since they announced their involvement in addressing carbon emissions November 2020, I was intrigued - and so were many others. Nutrien Ag started its two year pilot period in 2021 and exceeded their anticipated farmer participation. Below is what I’ve been able to gather so far.


  • Nutrien has a deep bench of agronomists on staff to provide guidance for newly enrolled farmers, so entering the market may have additional benefits for farmers looking for guidance on how best to sequester carbon.
  • As a global retailer they have plenty of connections to influential companies who might be interested in purchasing carbon credits once the program is officially launched.


  • Because Nutrien has its own proprietary products, enrollment in their carbon program could mean you’re signing up to use their products– if you’re interested in signing up, make sure to read the fine print.


Other Carbon Credit Companies and Resources

I’ve done a deep dive into a few carbon credit companies, but there are many more that are focusing on GHG emission mitigation as well.

Should I Try Carbon Marketplaces For My Farm ?

While these programs vary slightly in stage of development and market mechanisms, they generally seek farmers who:

  1. Have multi-year on-farm data for all the land they want to enroll in the carbon marketplace. Oftentimes, the data needed is so granular that farmers may not qualify to enroll until after they start taking more detailed measurements.
  2. Own the land they enroll. For farmers who lease the land, this is a key barrier to entry.
  3. Plan to farm the land they enroll for years into the future. Contracts with carbon brokers can extend for substantial periods of time (think: 20+ years).

Bottom line, if you think carbon markets are right for your farm, you may find that both private, state and federal funding options can help you try out carbon sequestering tactics. FarmRaise specializes in matching farmers with farm funding opportunities and we’ll even help you apply to some of them like EQIP.

At FarmRaise, we are monitoring the development of these marketplaces closely so that our farmers receive the most up-to-date information on their development. As each of these marketplaces and government regulation develop, we will look for ways to plug our farmers into these markets quickly and efficiently. To stay in the loop about carbon markets and other farm prosperity news and tips, signup for our free newsletter through our free plan!


This article is written by Sarah T. Sarah has earned her Master’s Degree in Agronomy and Agriculture Technology from Stanford University. She supports American producers by dedicating herself to finding solutions that lead to more sustainable, healthier and tastier food systems.


*Truterra is a FarmRaise partner - partnering to help farmers in Iowa adopt regenerative farming practices. 

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