Getting rewarded for being good stewards of the land

Since incorporating more cover crops and no-till practices, a Kansas farmer has seen his soil health improve.

For Kevin Bahr, farming is in his blood. The youngest of four children, he grew up on his family’s farm in central Kansas—riding the tractor with his parents and pitching in to help wherever he could.  
After graduating from high school, he went to college on a football scholarship and obtained a teaching degree. “My mom told me with the way farm life is, you need to get an education,” said Kevin. “She wanted me to have something to fall back on in case times got hard.” While he enjoyed teaching, after nine years he came back to work full-time on the farm—returning to his true passion.  
Today, Kevin is a fourth-generation farmer on the same land he grew up on, with support from his wife, Jennifer, and their three children. His farmland is diversified—with wheat, milo, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and a cow calf herd. Like many farmers, he has been utilizing what are now known as sustainable agricultural practices for years.
“It’s all about improving soil health and saving moisture,” Kevin said. This is especially important in Kansas, where drought and erosion can wreak havoc on row crops—and profitability. By adopting more sustainable agricultural practices—like planting cover crops, reducing tillage, improving nutrient efficiency and reducing soil compaction—soil can absorb more organic matter and store more carbon.  
Carbon sequestration not only helps crops grow, but it also helps reduce and remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, fueling high interest in the voluntary carbon market. 


Kevin Bahr with his wife, Jennifer, and their dog Gizmo.

From skeptic to ambassador  

Kevin has seen the carbon market get crowded in recent years, with lots of players competing for farmers’ attention. Initially, he was among the carbon program skeptics. As he learned more about the Truterra carbon program from his ag retailer, American Plains Co-op, he felt like it was something worth exploring. “The connection with my local co-op made it easier because I trust them,” he said. 
Kevin joined the Truterra carbon program in 2021 and currently sits on Truterra’s advisory board where he and other farmers can provide feedback. He is also sharing what he has learned with his peers as a member of Truterra’s inaugural group of farmer ambassadors.  
Since incorporating more cover crops and no-till practices, Kevin has seen his soil health improve. “I'm doing what’s best for my soil; the carbon credit money is like gravy on top of my mashed potatoes,” he said. 

What makes Truterra unique 

Truterra’s farmer-centric carbon program is unique compared to other options on the market. Farmers have greater earnings potential with Truterra since they are paid based on actual carbon stored vs. a set payment by acre. Farmers also maintain ownership and options of their carbon rights and data.  With flexible, no-cost contracts and access to agronomic support from trusted advisors, it’s a win-win. 
“Carbon credits have been around for a while, but they were never put together in the right way for farmers to take advantage of them,” said Kevin. “Truterra is different. I like the fact that they listen to farmers.”  
Thanks to farmer feedback, data collection is getting simpler, he said. Not only that, but in 2023 Truterra expanded program eligibility to include qualified long-term adopters of conservation practices, something Kevin had talked to the business about. “Truterra rewards you for doing a lot of the practices that you’re already doing on your farm,” he said.  
In the first two years, Truterra has paid more than $9 million to farmers for sequestering 462,000 metric tons of carbon. The latest results from 2023 are expected in mid-March.  

Advice for carbon-curious farmers 

Kevin has three key pieces of advice for farmers who are curious about carbon programs: 

  1. Talk to people and gather as much information as you can. “You can learn a lot from other farmers,” he said.
  2. Start small and take on what you’re comfortable with. “Truterra has lots of different options for all farmers, no matter where they’re at on their sustainability journey,” he said. 
  3. ​Stick to it. "While we may be talking about carbon, this program is more about soil health, which doesn't happen overnight,” Kevin said. “Give yourself time. Take care of your farm and it will take care of you.” 

To learn more about Truterra's sustainability programs, visit