Georgia Cotton Commission Encourages Enrollment in U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Program

Clint Thompson Cotton, Georgia, Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC)

By Clint Thompson

The Georgia Cotton Commission encourages producers to join the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol movement. They’ll have until the end of January to enroll in the program for the 2020 growing season.

Ken Burton, Executive Director for U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, said enrollment for the 2021 year will start around March or April.

“It will enable producers to tell their sustainability story to the world and continuously improve their operation in the process,” Burton said. “We’re looking out for the best interests of our producers, ensuring that U.S. cotton is in all market places because as brands and retailers are coming under more and more pressure from their investors and from their customers, some of them are only going to purchase cotton that goes through a system like this. If this industry does not have a system in place like this, then U.S. cotton is not being sourced in all markets.”

Program’s Purpose

The program will provide the necessary validation for brands and retailers who purchase U.S. cotton. According to the Southeast AgNet website, the Trust Protocol helps U.S. growers document and showcase their land management and environmental stewardship practices while helping them achieve continuous improvement related to certain environmental sustainability measurements.

Burton said producers who are interested in joining the movement will a take self-assessment against defined standards as well as provide field level data that shows the environmental footprint for their cotton operation.

“We need to make sure that U.S. cotton has the opportunity to be in all market places. Otherwise, if we don’t have a program like this in place, it’s not going to be accessible in all markets because certain brands and retailers and certain textile mills will only purchase through programs like this,” Burton said.

Each Georgia producer who participates commits to tracking their progress towards improving soil carbon health while seeking year over year reductions in soil erosion, overall land use, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The Trust Protocol seeks to have more than 50% of all U.S. cotton registered as Trust Protocol Cotton by 2025.

For more information, see the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol website.