Considering Carbon: A Farmer’s Guide to Carbon Contracts


Carbon contracts are legal agreements under which farmers adopt new farming practices to sequester additional carbon into the soil and are paid for these actions by a third party. The contracts vary dramatically from one company to another, but essentially, they require that a soil test be performed to measure the amount of carbon initially stored in the farmer’s soil, the adoption of new farming techniques such as no-till, minimum till or the use of cover crops to capture more carbon from the atmosphere, and then later on, measurements are taken again to measure the amount of carbon stored in the soil.  The farmer would be compensated for the net increase of carbon stored in the soil based on the language in the contract.  This is a simplified version of how a typical carbon contract is structured and different contracts have different requirements which makes a close examination of the contract critical before a farmer signs any agreement.

The webinar will briefly summarize the current market for carbon contracts. It will discuss relevant contract law briefly, and then take a close look at selected language taken directly from contracts being offered to farmers and analyze the meaning of that language.  The goal is to understand the basic terms that are often used and help farmers understand some of the legal issues surrounding these agreements.

Time and Date:


 Wednesday, September 28, 2022

12:00 – 1:00 (EDT)

11:00 – 12:00 (CDT)


View a Recording of the Webinar here



Stephen Carpenter is Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney at Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG).  FLAG is a nonprofit law firm that works on behalf of family farmers.  At FLAG, Stephen’s work has centered on discrimination in agricultural lending, debtor-creditor issues, COVID-19 relief, disaster assistance, federal farm programs, sustainable agriculture and direct marketing, and the problems of farmers contracting for livestock production. Stephen has conducted frequent FLAG trainings for farmers, advocates, and attorneys and has spoken to farmers and their advocates in more than forty states. He has authored and edited several FLAG materials and publications and has written a number of law review articles.  Stephen is a graduate of Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and of Stanford Law School. He came to FLAG in 1993.

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