As consumer, brand, and government demands for sustainable practices increase, so does pressure on the cotton industry to meet these demands. To support cotton producers, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was established as a voluntary farm-level program that engages growers in continuous improvement. The pilot program, which now includes 200 producers, has been operating for the past 2 years.
The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol strives to provide information to brands that make them comfortable with relying on U.S. cotton as a responsible and sustainable source. To this end, the trust strives to achieve quantifiable sustainability goals, such as decreasing land use by 13% and water use by 18% by 2025.
The trust also collects data from producers on a volunteer basis. To enroll in the program, producers must agree to complete three steps. First, they must fill out a self-assessment questionnaire. Second, they must use a data tool to supply environmental metrics. One such tool is the free, online FieldPrint Calculator, through which producers enter data about crop rotation, tillage practices, nutrient management, irrigation practices, and more. The calculator then gives feedback to producers relating to issues such as land use, soil conservation, soil carbon, and water use. Finally, producers must agree to verification by independent parties.
To learn more about the requirements for participating in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol program, watch the webcast “U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol," presented by Gary Adams, president and CEO of the National Cotton Council of America.
This 25-minute presentation is available through the “Focus on Cotton" resource on the Plant Management Network. This resource contains more than 100 webcasts, along with presentations from a number of conferences, on a broad range of aspects of cotton crop management: agronomic practices, diseases, harvest and ginning, insects, irrigation, nematodes, precision agriculture, soil health and crop fertility, and weeds. These webcasts are available to readers open access (without a subscription).
The “Focus on Cotton" homepage also provides access to “Cotton Cultivated," a resource from Cotton Incorporated that helps users quickly find the most current cotton production information available. These and other resources are freely available courtesy of Cotton Incorporated at www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/foco.