; How the Trust Protocol Works - Trust US Cotton Protocol

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol’s Theory of Change is grounded on science-based measurement and feedback. The initiative’s mission is to bring quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the key sustainability metrics of U.S. cotton production including land use, soil loss, water reduction, soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

In an age of increasing supply chain scrutiny, the Trust Protocol’s vision is to set a new standard in sustainable cotton production where full transparency is a reality and continuous improvement to reduce our environmental footprint is the central goal.

At the same time, it will not lose sight of its core values with a commitment to U.S. cotton’s legacy of authenticity, innovation and excellence, environmental stewardship, caring of people, and personal and corporate integrity.

Our aim is to set a new standard in more sustainable cotton production

    • In the fields: Our program will engage the 16,000 growers in the United States on the positive impact of responsible growing practices – environmental, social and economic and collectively lead the way for sustainable cotton production – protecting and preserving the fields and farms for generations to come
    • Along the supply chain: As an established leader in technology and innovation, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol aims to act as a catalyst in the transformation of the sector, towards full supply chain transparency and trackability
    • With customers: Stakes are high. It’s no longer enough to talk about being responsible. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will share the data behind our cotton so that brands and retailers can evidence against their sustainability commitments confidently
    • With the general public: Choice is everywhere. Consumers want to do the right thing, but they are unsure where to look. We want them to understand that they can make a more sustainable, quality choice when they shop

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change is based on science based measurement and feedback.

Meet Our Growers

Aaron Barcellos


I am a fourth-generation grower from Marianna, Arkansas—the east part of the state. After earning my law degree in 2005, I returned home to work alongside my father growing around 60% cotton—with the rest in rice and soybeans. My operation has a total of about 10 employees—one of whom started working for my grandfather in 1968, Charles Patton. I am a flexible grower, trying new technologies or practices to save water and energy. I’m not afraid to experiment with computer programs and variable rate technology. I was named 2015 Arkansas Farmer of the Year and Arkansas Business 2019 40 Under 40. I live with my wife Kristin and my four children.

As science, the research and studies continue to reveal, biotech crops are continuing to improve our environment, allow us to grow more on less land and improve in areas we never imagined before. As a cotton and corn producer, to me the biggest benefit has been our drastic reduction in pesticide applications.