Continuous Improvement in the Fields

The 16,000 cotton farms in the United States have been committed to continuous improvement for decades. Over the past 35 years, U.S. cotton production has used 79% less water per bale and 54% less energy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, all while reducing land use per bale by 49%. The adoption of practices such as minimal tillage, GPS and sensor-driven precision agriculture, and the growing of winter cover crops have further improved soil health, reducing loss and erosion by 37% per acre and increasing soil carbon levels.

Industry-wide Regulation and Quality Control

Source U.S. cotton with confidence, knowing that the United States has one of the most comprehensive and strict regulatory environments to ensure responsible growing practices as well as cotton transparency and quality-control, making it a safe and more sustainable choice:

The U.S. regulatory framework is extensive and covers environmental regulations on pesticides, labor, wages, working conditions, safety and health. U.S. cotton is also regulated as a food crop, making it safe for people and the environment.

The Permanent Bale Identification system, which assigns a unique barcode to every bale of U.S. grown cotton at the gin, provides farm-to-mill transparency for each bale.

The USDA Classification System, used the world over, underpins the quality and consistency of every order of U.S. cotton that enters the supply chain – long staple length, minimal contaminants and bright, uniform color.

Trust Protocol Participant Grower Metrics

Trust Protocol members will have access to aggregate sustainability metrics based on self-assessment questionnaires of participating growers. In addition, members will receive customized reporting based on national environmental metrics for key sustainability indicators.

Trust Protocol Grower Requirements

Participant growers’ efforts today will enable continuous improvements helping the next generation. As a participant, growers opt-in to:
    • After you press the Join Now button, you need to complete the self-assessment. It will ask questions on your sustainable production practices in soil health, tillage operations, water use and pesticide management, among others. This takes around 30 minutes, and 15 for those re-enrolling!
    • You will need to complete your field assessment that was built in conjunction with Field to Market. The benefit is that you’ll receive data that will enable you to confidentially assess where you stand on these key measurements compared to those in your region, state and even nationwide. This only takes around 45 minutes to complete and you only need to input 10% of your farming operation.
    • Lastly, we’ll ask for you to commit to the continuous improvement measurements that the Trust Protocol has developed and confirm to have your data verified by second- and third-parties.
    • If you have questions, please reach out to If you have questions, need some help with Fieldprint or want someone to complete the registration with you, our help desk is happy to support you.
The Trust Protocol will also enable Trust Protocol growers to track and improve cotton growing techniques.

Episode 4 of Smarter Conversations

No Sustainable Improvement without Tracking

This is a scene-setting episode talking about the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, how it fits in to the sustainability landscape, why it’s important. Our guests talk about what the Trust Protocol can offer for its members.