U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Report Shows Higher Enrollment, Growth Across Sustainability Metrics

Headline results published in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol’s (USCTP) third Annual Report show that the program has tripled its grower membership to almost a quarter of U.S. cotton acres and continues to drive improvement across its six primary measurement metrics.

The report shows that 1.7 million cotton acres are now enrolled in USCTP – approximately 23% of the entire cotton-growing area of the U.S.


Continued Improvement Across All Six Metrics

The USCTP reported continued progress across all six measurement metrics of land use, water use efficiency, energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil conservation, and soil carbon. Aggregate improvements on 2015 baseline figures reported are:

  • 79% reduction in soil loss with yields 12% greater than the national average
  • 83% of USCTP growers reporting a positive soil carbon index
  • Water use efficiency enhanced by 14%
  • GHG emissions cut by more than a fifth (21%)
  • 27% reduction in energy use.

Regenerative Agriculture Metrics

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The Annual Report also includes key metrics on progress in regenerative agriculture using Field to Market methodology. The regenerative practices reported include cover cropping (up 19% over 2021/22), minimal or no-tillage methods (22% minimal, 63% no-till), promoting biodiversity (average Habitat Potential Index of 0.66), rotational farming (86% of reported acres), Integrated Pest Management (45% of reported acres), precision agriculture techniques, and using inputs tailored to specific landscape conditions.

Aggregate data Reporting With An Enlarged Data 

The tripling of enrolled growers provides significant implications for data interpretation. More participating growers contribute to a larger data set which impacts the statistical significance of the findings. The diversity of practices with a large and broader group of growers also means a greater representation of farming practices, regions, and conditions which, in turn, helps improve data interpretation and allows for benchmarking. At the same time, an unusually high or a low value in a single year of exponential growth in enrolled grower members can lead to data anomalies. Aggregate data reporting over a three-year period ensures a reduced impact of anomalies as more data is incorporated into the program.

“I’m greatly encouraged by the continued progress, and not least by the exponential growth in enrolled planted cotton acres,” says USCTP Executive Director Daren Abney. “Accurate data collection sets the stage for appropriate decisions for brands and retailers, where they can claim how much water has been saved or how many greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced.

“Today’s data demonstrates how Protocol growers continue to improve in their environmental performance, year on year,” he adds. “We do not have a final destination. Our journey is one of continuous improvement in the pursuit of excellence.”

Complete report details can be found online at TrustUSCotton.org.

Information from U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol