A comparative examination of the efficiency of sequestering carbon in US agricultural soils

John M. Antle, Susan M. Capalbo, Sian Mooney, Edward T. Elliott, Keith H. Paustian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


This paper demonstrates the need to integrate biophysical and economic data to assess the competitiveness of US agriculture to provide soil carbon (C) and participate in a market for C credits. The paper discusses alternative methods of calculating the costs of soil C sequestration and compares the cost of sequestering soil C in Iowa and Montana. Results indicate that the opportunity cost per Mg of sequestered C varies in response to regional resource endowments and net returns. Economic models show that Montana could sequester a relatively small amount of soil C annually at a lower opportunity cost per Mg than Iowa, but Iowa can sequester larger quantities more efficiently. These results are compared with estimates of the cost of C sequestration from other domestic and international studies, and suggest that US agriculture could be competitive in domestic or international markets for C reduction credits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Carbon credits
  • Carbon reduction credits
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Economics of carbon sequestration
  • Soil carbon storage
  • US agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Antle, J. M., Capalbo, S. M., Mooney, S., Elliott, E. T., & Paustian, K. H. (2002). A comparative examination of the efficiency of sequestering carbon in US agricultural soils. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, 17(3), 109-115.