Corteva Agriscience Carbon Survey Results

Key Findings

  • The primary barriers to planting cover crops and/or implementing strip or no-till are a lack of access to necessary equipment or custom applicator, as well as concerns about return on investment.
  • Consultants/agronomists, other farmers and family members are the strongest influencers over farmers in their decision-making regarding cover crops and strip or no-till practices.
  • Almost half of farmers say they have grown more interested in on-farm stewardship and conservation issues over the past five years. This is even true for farmers who are not currently implementing soil health practices such as cover crop and reduced or no-till.

Rationale and Objectives

The goal of this survey was to better understand farmers’ knowledge of carbon programs, current use of soil health practices, barriers for participation, perceptions of carbon credit pricing and other decision-making factors.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Trust in Food from June 4 - July 31, 2021. In total, 617 U.S. row crop farmers representing 26 states completed the survey. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

States represented include: IL, IA, IN, NE, MO, KS, MN, WI, ND, SD, OH, MI, KY, TX, OR, CA, FL, VA, CO, PA, WY, WA, LA, AZ, UT, NY

Age of respondents: 7 respondents younger than 30 years old, 46 respondents 30-39 years old, 79 respondents 40-49 years old, 132 respondents 50-59 years old, and 353 respondents 60+ years old


Two-thirds (66%) of respondents have already adopted cover crops or reduced or no-till on at least some of their acres

In Fall 2020/Spring 2021, did you plant cover crops or implement strip or no-till practices on any of your acres? Total Sample (N=617)

Among those who have not planted cover crops or implemented strip or no-till practices, the primary barrier is lack of know-how, equipment or time, followed by concerns about not seeing a return on investment

What is the primary reason why you aren't considering planting cover crops and/or implementing strip or no-till next year (Fall 2021/ Spring 2022)? Choose one. Among those who have not implemented these practices (N=92)

Among those citing know-how, equipment or time to successfully implement practices (see previous question), the main barrier they face is access to the necessary equipment or a custom applicator

Which of the following issues make you not consider planting cover crops and/or implementing strip or no-till next year? Choose all that apply. Among those who have not implemented and cite lack of know-how, equipment or time as barrier (N=35)

The majority of respondents are aware of carbon programs, but don’t know much about them. 20% are actively looking into programs, and only 3% are currently enrolled in one

How familiar are you with carbon programs? Total Sample (N=617)

Farmers’ main objection to signing up for a carbon program is concern that payment may not offset their costs. They also don’t trust that a program will last. On an open-end basis, many expressed frustration that their acreage already managed with these practices is not eligible for carbon programs

What concerns would you have about a program? Total Sample (N=617)

The people who have the most influence on farmers’ decisions related to planting cover crops or implementing strip or no-till are consultants/agronomists, other farmers and family

Which of the following groups or individuals primarily influence your decisions about planting cover crops and/or implementing strip or no-till? (Choose at least 2, and up to 5) Total Sample (N=617)

Farmers who are not planting cover crops and/or implementing reduced or no-till still report increased interest in stewardship and conservation. Nearly half of farmers who have not adopted these practices report that they have become more interested in stewardship and conservation issues in recent years

Please indicate how your level of interest in on-farm stewardship and conservation has changed in the last five years (if at all) Total Sample (N=617)

Many farmers indicate that they would consider a carbon program if the payment/acre reached $20; however, it wasn't until the payment/acre reached ~$40 that the majority said they would be very interested in participating in a program

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